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The Gradle Song 

-^nd ( ^f her Plays 



f 




THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



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in 2007 witii funding from 

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THE CRADLE SONG 



f. 




G. MARTINEZ SIERRA 



THE CRADLE SONG 

^nd Other Tlays 



BY 

G. MARTINEZ SIERRA 



IN ENGLISH VERSIONS WITH AN 
INTRODUCTION BY 

JOHN GARRETT UNDERHILL 




New York 
E. P. DUTTON & CO., INC. 



THE CRADLE SONG, COPYRIGHT, 1922, 
BY E. P. DUTTON & CO., ALL 
RIGHTS RESERVED :: PRINTED IN U.S.A. 



First Printing November, 1922 

Second Printing February, 1929 

Third Printing September, 1929 

Fourth Printing December, 1931 



Performance forbidden and riehts of representation reserved. 
Application for amateur or professional rights of performance 
of any of these plays must be addressed to the Translator, in 
care of the Publishers. 

Attention is drawn to the penalties provided by law for any 
infringement of rights under Section 4966. United States 
Revised Statutes. Title 60. Chapter 3. 



College 
Library 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Introduction vii 

The Cradle Song 5 

{Cancion de Cuna) 

The Lover y^ 

{El Enamorado) 

Love Magic 95 

{Hechizo de Amor) 

Poor John 119 

{El Pobrecito Juan) 

Madame Pepita 153 

Translated in collaboration with 
May Heywood Broun 



2047585 



INTRODUCTION 

Gregorio Martinez Sierra was born at Madrid March 6, 
1881, Maria de la O Lejarraga at San Millan de la Cogolla, 
a mountain village in the fertile wine-growing district of 
the Rioja, one year previously. They were married in 1899. 
Gregorio Martinez Sierra is not only a name but a pen- 
name, and the works which have appeared under it are the 
result of a collaboration that began even before marriage 
and has continued through all their books and plays ever 
since. 

Precocious in talent, Gregorio attended the University of 
Madrid where he came to grief in history, doubtless, as he 
says, because of a settled aversion to battles. His affinity 
for formal study was slight. Maria, however, early asso- 
ciated herself with the educational system and was already 
established as a teacher in the public normal schools. To- 
gether they soon abandoned all thought of academic prefer- 
ment and turned to literature as a career. 

At seventeen, with the manuscript of his first book. El 
poema del trabajo ("The Song of Labor"), he presented 
himself to Jacinto Benavente, who furnished an introduction 
and arranged its publication which took place in 1898. Two 
series of prose poems, or pastels, as they were called in that 
day, followed, besides a collection of short stories, Cuentos 
breves, issued independently and attributed to Maria. In 
1900 a novelette. Almas ausentes was awarded the prize in 
a contest conducted by the Biblioteca Mignon. This and 
other tales of the sort, subsequently appearing separately, 
have been reprinted in three volumes, Abril melancolico 
("Melancholy April"), El diablo se rie ("The Devil 



viii INTRODUCTION 

Laughs"), and La selva muda ("The Silent Wood"). The 
most notable work in the shorter form, however, is con- 
tained in Sol de la tarde, or "Declining Sun," which estab- 
lished their reputation beyond cavil in 1904. To the same 
year belongs the first of two novels, "The Humble Truth," 
while a second and more popular venture in the field of 
fiction, "Peace" {Tu eres la paz), was composed two years 
later. 

In the beginning an intellectual by temperament and a 
word-painter by inclination, Martinez Sierra may be char- 
acterized as an impressionist, well-versed in the procedure 
of the modern French schools. Perhaps the principal per- 
sonal influence of his formative period was that of the poet 
Juan Ramon Jimenez, with whom he kept bachelor hall 
at Madrid. Other associations of these days were likewise 
predominantly literary, and leaders of the mo4ern movement 
such as Antonio and Manuel Machado and the Catalan, 
Santiago Rusinol, painter of gardens, proved themselves 
kindred spirits. Under their friendly stimulus, he published 
a volume of verse, La casa de la primavera, a chance excur- 
sion into an alien domain, as well as a prose poem upon 
"Hamlet in the Person of Sarah Bernhardt," With these 
works his "Dream Theatre" may be coupled, a quartet of 
symbolic, mystical dialogues with pronounced Maeterlinckian 
tendencies. 

The first decade of the productivity of Martinez Sierra 
suggests little of the theatre. It was quietistic in feeling, 
essentially contemplative, a communion with idyllic and 
elegiac poets. Yet through these days another influence had 
been active, although less conspicuously, which in the end 
was to prove decisive. In the year immediately following the 
publication of "The Song of Labor," the Art Theatre was 
founded at Madrid by Benavente. The cooperation of the 
more promising of the younger generation was enlisted, 
among whom was Martinez Sierra, who played the role 
of Manuel in support of Benavente in the latter's comedy 



INTRODUCTION ix 

"A Long Farewell" at the opening performance. The en- 
suing months were months of intimate association with a 
remarkable mind. "As I listened to him talk, the funda- 
mental laws of the modern theatre were revealed to me, and 
I have profited by his instruction unceasingly." So, properly, 
Martinez Sierra had already served an apprenticeship in 
the theatre before he began to write plays. His debut as 
a playwright was delayed for ten years, and was then made 
in collaboration with Rusinol, with whom he composed a 
comedy entitled Vida y dulzurOj presented at the Teatro 
de la Comedia, Madrid, in 1907. This was followed by 
Aucells de pas, also in collaboration with Rusinol, produced 
in Catalan at Barcelona in 1908, and, after a further in- 
terval of two years, by Cors de dona, in Catalan by the same 
hands. Meanwhile, during the spring of 1909, Martinez 
Sierra attained his first independent success with the comedy 
in two acts. La sombra del padre, presented at the Lara 
Theatre, one of the favorite houses of the capital. El ama de 
la casa, ("The Mistress of the House,") was acted at the 
same theatre in 1910, and in 1911 he achieved a definitive 
and permanent triumph with the production of "The Cradle 
Song," (Cancion de cuna). A companion piece Los pastores, 
("The Two Shepherds"), was brought out in 1913, also at 
the Lara. As Martinez Sierra's non-dramatic prose becomes 
most nicely expressive, most pictorial and most imaginative 
in Sol de la tarde, his comedy attains perfection in these 
beautiful idyls of the religious life. Radiant with the bland 
charm and luminosity of the Andalusian sketches of the 
Quinteros, these comedies possess, nevertheless, a quality 
which is distinctive and personal, at once richer and humanly 
more significant than the work of any competitors in the 
genre. No other plays convey so convincingly, or with equal 
grace, the implications of environment as it interprets itself 
in terms of character, not symbolically nor in any didactic 
way, but directly and visually so that the ambient becomes 
the protagonist rather than the individual, and the spirit 



X INTRODUCTION 

of the milieu is felt to express more clearly than words the 
fundamentals which condition its life. 

"The Cradle Song" has been translated into many 
languages, and has been played and imitated widely through- 
out the civilized world. Ten years after the Madrid pre- 
miere Augustin Duncan hazarded four special matinees in 
English at the Times Square Theatre, New York, begin- 
ning in February, 1921, without, however, attracting sup- 
port. A play in two acts was held to be revolutionary by 
the consensus of experts, and was thought to fall wholly 
without the purlieus of drama. During the same season 
a slighter piece, "The Romantic Young Lady" (Sueno de 
una noche de agosto), reached the London stage with Dennis 
Eadie, achieving a succes d'estime. The publication of the 
plays in translation fortunately attracted general attention, 
and it was not long before the wisdom of the pioneers had 
been justified. On November 2, 1926, "The Cradle Song" 
reappeared at the Fortune Theatre, London, with Miss 
Gillian Scaife, to be later transferred to the Little Theatre, 
where it completed a run of 109 performances, while Miss 
Eva LeGallienne brought her singularly fine and sensitive 
interpretation to the Civic Repertory Theatre, New York, 
during the following January, where it has been repeated 
125 times, A special company headed by Miss Mary Shaw 
later travelled throughout the United States. Productions 
at the Playhouses of Oxford and Liverpool and the Abbey 
Theatre, Dublin, also deserve mention. Meanwhile "The 
Romantic Young Lady" was revived at the Neighborhood 
Playhouse, New York, with Miss Mary Ellis, "The Lover" 
presented at the Fortune Theatre and on tour through 
England and Scotland, and "Madame Pepita" at the Play- 
house, Oxford and the Festival Theatre, Cambridge. "Love 
Magic," the first piece by Sierra to be acted in English 
(Waldorf-Astoria, New York, March 1918), "Poor John", 
"The Two Shepherds" and "Wife to a Famous Man" are 
all familiar in the little theatres of Great Britain and 



INTRODUCTION xi 

America. Finally, during the fall of 1927, Miss Scaife 
and Mr. Eadie brought "The Kingdom of God" to the 
Strand Theatre, and the same play, staged and directed by 
Miss Ethel Barrymore, was recently chosen to inaugurate 
the new Ethel Barrymore Theatre in this city in December, 
1928. 

Martinez Sierra has now written some forty-six original 
plays which have been acted, in addition to the three com- 
posed in collaboration with Rusiiiol. He has translated and 
adapted forty-seven plays, chiefly from the French, English 
and Catalan, besides making occasional excursions into Ger- 
man. Perhaps the most important translation is a five- 
volume edition of Maeterlinck. His non-dramatic works 
occupy thirty-two volumes to which six others of transla- 
tions must be added. In the intervals of composition, he 
established and edited Helios, a short-lived literary periodical, 
and founded and directed the Biblioteca Renacimiento, one 
of the most prosperous and progressive publishing houses of 
the capital. He has also edited a library for the world's 
classics in translation, and more recently has established a 
publishing house of his own, the Biblioteca Estrella. In 
1916 he assumed the management of the Teatro Eslava, 
Madrid, installing there a stock company, the Compania 
Lirico-Dramdtica Gregorio Martinez Sierra, for the pre- 
sentation of the modern repertory, prominently featuring his 
own plays. Whether from the point of view of acting 
or of mise en scene, this company must be accounted one of 
the most complete and satisfying in the peninsula. A Parisian 
engagement was undertaken successfully in 1925, and the 
company has since twice visited America, appearing first in 
a repertory of eighteen plays upon a tour extending from 
Buenos Aires to New York, terminating at the Forrest Thea- 
tre in May 1927. An admirably printed and illustrated 
selection of monographs, Un teatro de arte en Espdna, 
records the story of Sierra's tenancy of the Eslava and ren- 
ders adequate tribute to Catalina Barcena, the gifted and 



xii INTRODUCTION 

versatile actress around whom from the beginning the com- 
pany has been built. 

An artist who is subjected continually to the distractions 
of business, sacrifices with his leisure opportunity for de- 
tachment. Already, previous to the production of Los 
pastores, Martinez Sierra had manifested a tendency to 
approximate the main currents of the modern popular thea- 
tre. An improviser of unusual facility, he composed the 
slightest of musical comedies in Margot and La Tirana; 
a charming light opera libretto. Las golondrinas ("The 
Swallows"), based upon an earlier play, Aucells de pas; 
grand opera libretto in La llama, and the scenario of a 
dancing suite with music by Manuel de Falla for the gypsy 
bailarina Pastora Imperio. He remade old comedies, re- 
worked juvenilia, republished forgotten stories, and drama- 
tised his novel Tu eres la paz as Madrigal. He contrived 
pantomime. The lesser plays of this miscellaneous epoch 
become an epitome of the activities of the contemporary 
Madrid stage, broadened, however, by a thorough cosmo- 
politanism. They are eclectic, light-hearted, persistently 
gay, and, upon the more serious side, progressive documents 
considered from the sociological point of view. As he has 
grown older, Martinez Sierra has come to be interested 
not so much in the picturesque, in the life which is about 
to pass, as it lies inert in the present with all the remoteness 
of objective art, as he is in the future with its promise of 
the amelioration of the life which he formerly portrayed. 
He is an apostle of the new order, which is to be assured 
in his conception through the dissemination of a wider and 
more complete knowledge, a more truly international cul- 
ture and sympathy, a keener social consciousness, and, more 
precisely and immediately, through the promotion of certain 
reforms. The more significant of the recent comedies, "The 
Kingdom of God" and Esperanza nuestra ("The Hope That 
is Ours") are indicative of this development. Although by 
no means didactic, they are purely social in genesis and in 



INTRODUCTION xiii 

trend. Even his Don Juan de Espaha, a re-embodiment of 
the traditional libertine celebrated by Tirso de Molina and 
by Zorrilla, is a Don Juan redeemed. Yet Sierra remains 
essentially a man of the theatre. As a social thinker, his 
ideas are general, by no chance controversial, rising little 
beyond a broad humanitarianism, temperately and engagingly 
expressed. "Letters to the Women of Spain," "Feminism, 
Femininity and the Spanish Spirit," and "The Modern 
Woman," all volumes of frankly confessed propaganda, are 
more effective because they persuade rather than provoke, 
avoiding partisan commitments or advocacies of any sort. 
They are quite as dispassionately impersonal as the plays. 
In these maturer vrorks, as in those of Linares Rivas and 
Benavente, the modern movement, which during the earlier 
years of the century had been predominantly intellectual and 
aesthetic, turns toward the practical and political sphere, 
and fixes its attention upon results. It is the completion 
of the cycle which began in 1898. 

Thirty years have slipped by since the publication of 
"The Song of Labor." Martinez Sierra is no longer a 
young man of promise. Soon he will be counted among 
the elders whose art has matured and attained its full ex- 
tension, consolidated and ripened by experience. It is now 
possible to appraise his accomplishment and to determine 
with relative certainty his contribution to the contemporary 
theatre. 

In this task, the secrets of a collaboration as intimate as 
it has been enduring, must of necessity be respected. We 
have no work avowedly solely by Martinez Sierra. Only 
one has been acknowledged by his wife as her own. 
Obviously, the letters and lectures in promotion of feminism 
are at least in great part by a feminine hand. Beyond 
question she is responsible for the major share of transla- 
tion. An increasing proportion of the later output, also, 
may safely be attributed to her, more especially the collab- 
orations with the poet Marquina and the actor Sassone, 



xiv INTRODUCTION 

carried on during the absence of the Sierra troupe in America. 
Then "The Cradle Song" is a reminiscence of Maria's 
youth in Carabanchel, a town in which her father was con- 
vent doctor and where her sister took the veil, the Sister 
Joanna of the Cross of the play. Her intervention here 
has been confessed publicly. Yet these facts, though con- 
ceded, shed no light upon the basic problem, and provide 
no data for the identification of individual styles. A study 
of the earlier poems and stories might seem, indeed, to in- 
dicate that the elaboration and the subsequent simplification 
of the style are predominantly to be credited to Gregorio, 
while the bulk of actual composition — and to an increasing 
extent with the passing years — has been done by Maria. 
Like the Quinteros, Sierra is primarily an optimist, a 
child of the sun. This is fundamental in his theatre and 
has not escaped the attention of the Spanish humorists: 
"Glory to God in the highest. 

On earth peace, good will toward men! 

All's well with the world, says Martinez Sierra, 

And then says it again." 
He is not, however, an optimist by virtue of high spirits 
or uncommon enthusiasms, or because he has found life 
pleasant and easy, but through his sensitiveness. It is an 
optimism that is partly aesthetic, partly emotional. His 
sympathies have led him to hope. He has faith in the human 
equation, trust in men rather than in measures. The law 
he esteems very little in face of the gentle wisdom whose 
increment is sure with the years. Social progress is in- 
dividual progress and individual progress is spiritual prog- 
ress whose conquests are recorded first in the heart. This, 
of course, is no new doctrine, but it is the core of Martinez 
Sierra's philosophy and the main-spring of his art. In so 
far as the Church is a liberating and humanizing force he 
is a Christian, but he is a dissenter from all creeds and 
doctrines which restrict and inhibit the upward march of 
man. 



INTRODUCTION xv 

Curiously enough, as a playwright, Sierra, for all his 
tenderness, has little concern with the individual. This is 
the source of his calm. One of the most sensitive of men, 
he is also one of the most detached. His drama is expository, 
chiefly for the reason that the inception of his plays is in- 
variably generic and abstract. They are illustrative each 
of some general axiom or principle, whether human or so- 
cial. He is no apostle of personal causes. Every man must 
be sufJered, none the less, to shape his own career — "Live 
Your Own Life." The old virtues are destined to make 
way before the advance of the new — "The Two Shepherds." 
Sometimes, again, he has paused to probe some universal 
passion or emotion, devotion as in "The Lover", or, as in 
"The Cradle Song", to echo the cry of the eternal mother 
instinct which has been stifled and denied. Sometimes, as 
in "Fragile Rosina", in a sportive mood, he is content to 
parade mere temperament or an idle trait. Plays like "The 
Cradle Song" and "The Kingdom of God" are eloquent 
too, above the plane of feeling, of a social scheme, a new, 
a better life. The course of the story is the setting forth 
of the idea, the impelling emotion in all its significant phases, 
now by direct statement, now through contrast, but, in 
whatever way it may be effected, the content is plainly 
implicit in the theme from the beginning to become evident 
in detail as the action proceeds. For this reason the volitional 
element, in so far as it passes beyond mere childish caprice, 
is almost wholly lacking. Sierra draws no villains, creates 
no supermen, heroically imposing their wills, inherits no 
complexes, and cherishes small love for the tricks of dis- 
play. His taste is unfailingly nice. Mystery, however 
veiled, he abhors, complication of plot, all thrill of situa- 
tion. He even flees those internal crises of character which 
are so absorbing to the great dramatists, through whose 
struggles personality is built up and self-mastery won. These 
savor always of violence and conflict, no matter how sub- 
jective or subtle they may be. They are drama of action, 



xvi INTRODUCTION 

and Sierra's drama is static drama. He is content to sacri- 
fice movement to visual quality, excitement to charm. 

Although indubitably theatre of ideas, characteristically 
and fundamentally this is emotional theatre. It is live and 
warm. Naturally the spectacular ardors v^^hich have been 
associated time out of mind with the so-called emotional 
play have been discarded. Yet there is no more skilful 
purveyor of tears. The feeling is always direct, the presen- 
tation transparently clear. The playwright displays the 
intuitive grace of simple truth. The spectator sees and is 
persuaded without argument at sight. Life is depicted as a 
process of adjustment, a pervading harmony which influ- 
ences the characters and tempers them to its key, so that 
they are never suffered to become intellectualized. This is 
the most extraordinary of Sierra's gifts. His men and 
women remain spontaneously human, unchilled by the ideas 
in which they have previously been conceived. Standing by 
themselves, it is true, they betray a tendency to pale and 
grow thin, because, like the action, they have been born of 
the theme, and acquire substance and vitality only as they 
fit into the general plan and merge themselves with the 
incidents and scenes which reflect their life history. It is 
an art compact of simplicities, so delicate and frail that it 
can exist authentically only at propitious moments. Every 
element must concur in the perfection of the whole. Ab- 
solute unity is indispensable. Character must synchronize 
with theme, dialogue with action, situation with background, 
until each at last becomes articulate in the other, through 
every shade of feeling and the concord of smiles and tears. 
Otherwise the spell is shattered and ceases to be. Comedy 
and pathos join as one. Sierra's art is a blending of the 
more tractable emotions, of technical elements and all the 
ingredients which go to make up a play, that is so com- 
plete as not to stop short of interpenetration. To achieve 
less for him means failure. In the rehearsal of memory, the 
people of the plays do not recur to the mind, nor the 



INTRODUCTION xvii 

stones, nor any fragments nor striking features, but the 
atmosphere, the feeling, the impression of the ensembles. 
The plays live as emotion, pictures. 

When posterity comes to assess the fame of Martinez 
Sierra, the non-dramatic works, despite their undoubted 
merits, beyond peradventure will be set to one side. Time 
will ignore, also, as it has already done in large measure, 
the purely theatrical, occasional pieces contrived to meet 
the needs of aspiring actors or to tide over the exigencies 
of importunate companies, including specifically his ovm. 
There will remain a body of plays, considerable in bulk, 
and notable, at least superficially, in variety. A surprising 
amount of the best work must be assigned to the plays in 
one-act. Few have wrought more happily in miniature, 
or have qualified more instinctively in the lesser genre. The 
briefer pieces are without exception deft and tenuous, by their 
very nature peculiarly congenial to a temperament that is 
shy and retiring and a method that is tactful and restrained. 
Sierra's success has been unquestioned in this field. In two 
acts, he has shown equal facility, profiting in addition by 
the superior dignity and weight which are corollaries of the 
larger scale. "The Cradle Song" is Martinez Sierra, the 
epitome of his virtues and the confutation of his detractors, 
while into this group fall also the major number of his 
more serious efforts often, perhaps, only by limitation of 
subject inferior to those better known. In drama of greater 
extension and presumably more profound import, prolonged 
through three or more acts, he has been less impressive. The 
expository method here becomes treacherous, for either the 
play or the audience in the end is obliged to move. Con- 
fronted by this dilemma. Sierra falls back upon episode, 
and takes refuge in devices which temporize to sustain the 
interest, and at best are purely conventional. The most 
noteworthy of the longer plays such as "The Kingdom of 
God", are in consequence properly sequences of one-act 
units, carefully assembled and held together by a common 



xviii INTRODUCTION 

subject or related, it may be, by a single character which 
runs its course through them all. Still they preserve unity 
of atmosphere, still they plead unobtrusively their causes 
and retain the freshness of their visual appeal, but the 
problem at full length is more complex, position and juxta- 
position of incident are not so potent nor so suggestive, while 
even the most skilfully graduated emotion proves unable ex- 
cept in the rarest instances to dispense with progressive 
action and a continuous story artfully unrolled. These are 
multiple dramas, spoken pageants. They are chronicles of 
the modern stage. 

In the history of the theatre, only two names, Ramon 
de la Cruz and Quinones de Benavente, both coimtrymen 
of Sierra's, have lived as creators of one-act plays. Sierra's 
title to fame has a broader basis. He has produced the pop- 
ular masterpiece of the two-act style, already secure as an 
international classic. He has written also more perfectly 
than his contemporaries the Spanish realistic comedy of at- 
mosphere, that gently sentimental, placid communion with 
patience and peace whose quiet falls like a benediction upon 
a restless world. 

John Garrett Underhill. 



THE CRADLE SONG 

COMEDY IN TWO ACTS 

WITH AN 

INTERLUDE IN VERSE 



TEATRO LARA, MADRID 

1911 

TIMES SQUARE THEATRE, NEW YORK 

1921 



FORTUNE THEATRE, LONDON 
1926 

CIVIC REPERTORY THEATRE, NEW YORK 
1927 



TO JACINTO BENAVENTE 



CHARACTERS 

Sister Joanna of the Cross, i8 years of age. 
Teresa, aged i8. 
The Prioress, aged 40. 
The Vicaress, aged 40. 
The Mistress of Novices, aged 36. 
Sister Marcella, aged 19. 
Sister Maria Jesus, aged 19. 
Sister Sagrario, aged 18. 
Sister Inez, aged 50. 
Sister Tornera, aged 30. 
The Doctor, aged 60. 
Antonio, aged 25. 
The Poet. 
A Countryman. 

Also a Lay Sister, Two Monitors^ and several other Nuns, 
as desired. 



ACT I 

A room opening upon the cloister of a Convent of Enclosed 
Dominican Nuns. The walls are tinted soberly; the floor 
is tiled. Three arches at the rear. In the right wall a 
large door with a wicket in it, leading to a passage com- 
municating with the exterior. A grilled peephole for look- 
ing out. Above the door a bell which may be rung from 
the street. Beside the door an opening containing a re- 
volving boXj or wheel, on which objects may be placed and 
passed in from the outside without the recipient's being 
seen, or a view of the interior disclosed. Not far from 
this wheel, a pine table stands against one of the piers of 
the cloister. Ancient paintings relieve the walls. Through 
the arches the cloister garden may be seen, with a well in 
the middle; also a number of fruit trees, some greenery and 
a few rose bushes. Beneath the arches, potted flowers — 
roses, carnations, sweet basil, herb Louisa and balsam apple 
— together with a number of wooden benches and rush- 
seated chairs, and three arm chairs. 

As the curtain rises The Prioress is discovered seated in 
the largest of the arm chairs, and The Mistress of 
Novices and The Vicaress in the smaller ones, the former 
on the right, the latter on the left, well to the front. The 
other Nuns are grouped about them, seated also. The 
novices. Sister Marcella, Sister Joanna of the Cross, 
Sister Maria Jesus and Sister Sagrario stand some- 
what to the right. Sister Joanna of the Cross occupy- 
ing the centre of the stage. The Lay Sister and Sister 
Tornera remain standing by Phe table at the rear. 

It is broad day light. The scene is one of cheerfulness 
and animation. 

Sister Sagrario. Yes, do ! Do ! Do let her read them ! 

5 



6 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT I] 

Sister Marcella. Yes, do Mother! Do say yes! 

Prioress. Very well. You may read them then, since 
you have written them. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. I am very much 
ashamed. 

Mistress of Novices. These are the temptations of 
self-love, my child. 

Vicaress. And the first sin in the world was pride. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. They are very bad. I 
know you will all laugh at me. 

Vicaress. In that way we shall mortify your vanity. 

Mistress of Novices. Besides, since we are not at 
school here, all that our Mother will consider in them will 
be the intention. 

Prioress. Begin. And do not be afraid. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. [Reciting.'\ To oui 
Beloved Mother on the day of her Blessed Saint — her birth- 
day: 

Most reverend Mother, 

On this happy day 

Your daughters unite 

For your welfare to pray. 

We are the sheep 

Who under your care 

Are seeking out Heaven — 

The path that leads there. 

On one side the roses, 

On the other the thorn, 

On the top of the mountain 

Jesus of Mary born. 

To Jesus we pray 

Long years for your life, 

And of the Virgin Maria 

Freedom from strife; 

And may the years vie 

In good with each other, 

In holiness and joy, 

Our dearly-loved Mother! 



[ACT /] THE CRADLE SONG 7 

[The nuns applaud and all speak at once.'\ 

Some. Good! Very good! 

Others. Oh, how pretty! 

Sister Tornera. They are like the Jewels of the Vir- 
gin! 

Sister Inez. [Depreciatwely.'] She has copied them 
out of a book. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. [Carried away by her 
triumph.^ Long live our Mother! 

All. [Enthusiastically. "l Long live our Mother! 

Prioress. Come, you must not flatter me, my children. 
The verses are very pretty. Many thanks, my daughter. 
I did not know that we had a poet in the house. You 
must copy them out for me on a piece of paper, scr that I 
may have them to read. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. They are copied al- 
ready, reverend Mother. If your Reverence will be pleased 
to accept them . . . 

[She offers her a roll of parchment, tied elaborately 
with blue ribbons. The verses are written on the 
parchment and embellished with a border of flowers, 
doves and hearts, all of which have been painted by 
hand.^ 

Prioress. [Taking and unrolling the parchment.^ 
Bless me ! What clear writing and what a beautiful border ! 
Can you paint too? 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. No, reverend Mother. 
Sister Maria Jesus copied out the verses, and Sister 
Sagrario painted the border. Sister Marcella tied the 
bows. 

Sister Marcella. So it ig a remembrance from ajl the 
novices. 

Prioress. And all the while I knew nothing about it J 
The children have learned how to dissimulate very skil- 
fully. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. "VVq had permission from 



8 THE CRADLE SONG [JCT /] 

Mother Anna St. Francis. She gave us the ribbon and the 
parchment. 

Prioress. No wonder, then. So the Mother Mistress 
of Novices Icnows also how to keep secrets? 

Mistress of Novices. Once . . . Only for to-day. . . 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Today you must for- 
give everything. 

Prioress. [Smilinff.'] The fault is not a grave one. 

ViCARESS. [Acridly.] Not unless it leads them to pride 
themselves upon their accomplishments. The blessed 
mother Santa Teresa de Jesus never permitted her daughters 
to do fancy work. Evil combats us where we least ex- 
pect it, and ostentation is not becoming in a heart which 
has vowed itself to poverty and humility. 

Mistress of Novices. Glory be to God, Mother Vic- 
aress, but why must your Reverence always be looking for 
five feet on the cat? 

[Sister Marcella laughs flagrantly.'] 

ViCARESS. That laugh was most inopportune. 

Sister Marcella. [Pretending repentance, but still 
continuing to laugh in spite of herself.] I beg your 
pardon, your Reverence, I didn't mean it. This sister has 
such temptations to laugh, and she can't help it. 

ViCARESS. Biting your tongue would help it. 

Sister Marcella. Don't you believe it, your Reverence. 
No indeed it wouldn't! 

Prioress. [Thinking it best to intervene.] Come, you 
must not answer back, my daughter. Today I wish to 
punish nobody. 

ViCARESS. [Muttering.] Nor today, nor never! 

Prioress. [Aroused.] What does your Reverence 
mean by that. Mother Vicaress? 

ViCARESS. [Very meekly.] What we all know, rever- 
end Mother — that the patience of your Reverence is inex- 
haustible. 



[ACT I] THE CRADLE SONG g 

Prioress. Surely your Reverence is not sorry that it 
is so? 

ViCARESS. [Belligerently.'] Not upon my account, no. 
For by the grace of God I am able to fulfil my obligation 
and accommodate myself to the letter and spirit of our 
holy rule. But there are those who are otherwise, who, en- 
couraged by leniency, may stumble and even fall . . . 

Prioress. Has your Reverence anything definite in mind 
to say? If so, say it. 

ViCARESS. I have noticed for some time — and the Lord 
will absolve me of malice — that these "temptations to laugh" 
of which Sister Marcella speaks, have been abounding in 
this community; and these, taken with other manifestations 
of self-indulgence, not any less effervescent, are signs of 
a certain relaxation of virtue and deportment. 

Prioress. I hardly think we need trouble ourselves 
upon that account. Providence has been pleased of late 
to bring into our fold some tender lambs, and perhaps they 
do frisk a little sometimes in the pastures of the Lord. 
But the poor children mean no harm. Am I right in your 
opinion. Mother Mistress of Novices? 

Mistress of Novices. You are always right in my 
opinion, reverend Mother. Gaudeamus autem in Domino! 

ViCARESS. Your Reverences of course know what you 
are doing. I have complied with my obligation. 

[The bell rings at the entrance. Sister Tornera, 
who is an active little old woman, goes up to the 
grille and looks through it, after first having made a 
reverence to the Prioress.] 

Sister Tornera. Ave Maria Purissima! 

A Voice. [Outside, hoarse and rough.] Conceived 
without sin. Is it permitted to speak with the Mother 
Abbess ? 

Sister Tornera. Say what you have need of, brother. 
' Voice. Then here's a present for her from my lady, the 



lo THE CRADLE SONG [ACT I] 

mayor's wife, who wishes her happiness, and sends her 
this present, and she's sorry she can't come herself to tell 
her; but she can't, and you know the reason . . . [The 
Prioress siffhsj lifting up her eyes to heaven, and the others 
do the same, all sighing in unison.^ And even if she could 
on that account, she couldn't do it, because she's sick in 
bed, and you know the reason . . . 

Sister Tornera. God's will be done! Can the poor 
woman get no rest? Tell her that we will send her a jar of 
ointment in the name of the blessed Saint Clara, and say 
that these poor sisters never forget her in their prayers. 
They pray every day that the Lord will send her comfort. 
[She turns the wheel by the grille, and a basket appears, 
neatly covered with a white cloth.] Ah! — and the reve- 
rend Mother thanks her for this remembrance. And may 
God be with you, brother. [Approaching the others with 
the basket, which she has taken from the wheel.'] Poor 
lady! What tribulations our Lord sends into this world 
upon the cross of matrimony! 

Prioress. And to her more than anybody. Such a 
submissive creature, and married to a perfect prodigal! 

Mistress of Novices. Now that we are on the sub- 
ject, your Reverences, and have the pot by the handle, so 
to speak, do your Reverences know that the blasphemies 
of that man have completely turned his head? You heard 
the bells of the parish church ringing at noon yesterday? 
Well, that was because the mayor ordered them to be 
rung, because in the election at Madrid yesterday the re- 
publicans had the majority. 

All. God bless us! God bless us! 

Vicaress. Did the priest give his consent to that? 

Sister Inez. The priest is another sheep of the same 
color — he belongs to the same flock, may the Lord for- 
give me if I lack charity! Didn't your Reverences hear 
the sacrilege he committed upon our poor chaplain, who is 
holier than God's bread? Well, he told him that he was 



[ACT /] THE CRADLE SONG ii 

more liberal than the mayor, and that the next thing he 
knew, when he least expected it, he was going to sing the 
introitus to the mass to the music of the Hymn of Riego! 

Prioress. Stop! Enough! It is not right to repeat 
such blasphemies. 

Mistress of Novices. Yes, calumnies invented by un- 
believers, the evil-minded . . . 

Sister Inez. No such thing! Didn't Father Calixtus 
tell me himself while he was dressing for mass this morn- 
ing? We'll have to put a new strip pretty soon down the 
middle of his chasuble. 

Prioress. What ? Again ? 

Sister Inez. Yes. It's all worn out; it looks ter- 
ribly. Poor Father Calixtus is so eloquent! Pounding on 
his chest all the time, he simply tears the silk to pieces. 

ViCARESS. God's will be done, the man is a saint! 

Prioress. And all this while we have been forgetting 
the present from the mayor's wife. Bring it nearer. 
Sister. 

Sister Sagrario. Mercy! What a big basket! 

Sister Tornera. It's very light, though. 

Sister Inez. H!a! It's easy to see what sister has a 
sweet tooth! 

Sister Mari'a Jesus. As if she didn't like sweets! 
[Aside.l 

Sister Marcella. Now, Sister Inez, what did we see 
you doing this morning? You know we caught you lick- 
ing the cake pan yourself. 

Sister Inez. I? Licking the pan? Your Sister lick- 
ing the pan? Oh, what a slander! Jesus/ 

I*RI0RESS. Come, you must not be displeased, Sister 
Inez; for it was said only in pleasantry. Ah, Sister Mar- 
cella! Sister Marcella! Do have a little more circum- 
spection and beg your Sister's pardon. 

Sistek Marcella. [Kneeling before Sister Inez.] 
Pardon me, Sister, as may God pardon you, and give me 



12 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT /] 

your hand to kiss as a penance for having offended you. 

Prioress. That is the way my children should behave, 
humbly and with contrition. Sister Inez, give Sister 
Marcella your hand to kiss, since she begs it of you so 
humbly. 

Sister Marcella. [Spitefully, after kissing her hand.] 
Ay! But what a smell of vanilla jou have on your fingers, 
Sister! Goody! We're going to have cookies for lunch. 
[The others laugh.] 

Sister Inez. [Irritated, almost in tears.] Vanilla? 
God-a-mercy! Vanilla! Look at me! Do my fingers 
smell of vanilla? 

Prioress. [Imposing silence.] Surely the devil must 
be in you. Sister Marcella, and may God forgive you for 
it! Go and kneel in the corner there with your face to 
the wall, and make the cross with your arms while you 
repeat a greater station. May the Lord forgive you for 
it! 

Sister Marcella. Willingly, reverend Mother. 

Sister Inez. [Rubbing her hands under her scapular.] 
Too bad! Too bad! Ay! Ay! Ay! 

Sister Marcella. [Aside.] Old box of bones! 

[She goes and kneels in the corner, right, but keeps 
smiling and turning her head while she lets herself 
sink back on her heels, as if not taking the penance 
too seriously.] 

Prioress. You may uncover the basket now, Sister. 
Let us see what is in it. 

Sister Tornera. With your permission, reverend 
Mother. Why! It's a cage! 

Sister Sagrario. With a canary in it! 

All. a canary! A canary! Why, so it is! Let me 
see! How lovely! 

iMtstress of Novices. Isn't it pretty? 

Sister Maria Jesus. The dear! Isn't it cunning, 
though ? 



[ACT 7] THE CRADLE SONG 13 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. It looks as if it were 
made of silk. 

Sister Inez. I wonder if it can sing? 

Prioress. Of course it can sing. The mayor's wife 
would never send us a canary that couldn't sing. 

Sister Sagrario. What a beautiful cage! Why, 
there's a scroll on the front! 

MiSTOESS OF Novices. That isn't a scroll. It has 
letters on it. 

Sister Maria Jesus. Why, so it has! Look and see 
what they say. 

Mistress of Novices. "The Convent of Dominican 
Nuns!" 

Sister Inez. [Laughinff.] I'd call that a pretty airy 
convent ! 

ViCARESS. The good woman is holier than God's 
bread. 

Prioress. She could not have sent me anything that 
would have pleased me better. I have always been anxious 
to have a canary. 

Sister Inez. The Carmelite Sisters have two lovely 
canaries, and they say last year on Holy Thursday they 
hung them in the door of the tomb they have in the church 
for Easter, and it was like a miracle to hear them sing. 

Mistress of Novices. Then if ours sings, we can hang 
him in the church this year, and take the music box away. 

Prioress. No, for the music box is a present from the 
chaplain, and he would rightly be offended. We will 
have the box and the canary there together, and when we 
wind up the box, it will encourage the bird to sing. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Oh, look at him now 
— he's taking his bath! 

Sister Sagrario. See how he jumps. 

Prioress. What wonders God performs! 

Vicaress. And yet there are misguided creatures n^ho 
pretend that the world made itself! 



14 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT /] 

Sister Inez. Sister Marcella stuck her tongue out at 
me. 

Sister Marcella. Oh, reverend Mother! I did 
nothing of the kind! 

ViCARESS. How nothing of the kind? Didn't I see 
it with my own eyes? And I was struck dumb! 

Sister Marcella. I said nothing of the kind . . . 
as ... as that I had stuck my tongue out at Sister 
Inez. I stuck it out because there was a fly on the end 
of my nose, and since I had my arms out making the cross, 
I had to frighten him away with something. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Reverend Mother, since 
this is your Saint's day, won't you please excuse Sister 
Marcella this time? 

Sister Maria Jesus. Yes, reverend Mother! I am 
sure she won't do anything that's wrong again. 

Prioress. Sister Inez is the one who has been offended, 
and she is the only one who has the right to request her 
pardon. 

Novices. She does! She does! You do, don't you, 
Sister Inez? 

Sister Inez. [With a wry face.} Your Reverence will 
pardon her when your Reverence thinks best. 

Prioress. Then come here, my erring daughter. — She 
knows that I pardon her because of the day, and so as 
not to spoil the pleasure of her sisters. 

Sister Marcella. May God reward you, reverend 
Mother! 

Prioress. And set your veil straight, for this is the 
Lord's house, and it looks as if you were going on an ex- 
cursion. — And now to your cells, every one. {To the 
Novices.) What are you whispering about? 

Sister Sagrario. We were not whispering. Mother 
. . . We wanted to ask you something. 

Sister Maria Jesus. And we are afraid to do it. 

Prioress. Is it as bad as that? 



[ACT I] THE CRADLE SONG 15 

Sister Maria Jesus. No, it isn't bad. But 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Your Reverence might 
think so. 

Prioress. I might? I am not so evil-minded. 

Sister Sagrario. I . . . I . . . Our Mother Mistress 
will tell you. 

Mistress of Novices. Th'ey mean me. — Do you want 
me to? 

Novices. Yes! Yes! Do! 

Mistress of Novices. With God's help I will try. 
Though I don't know for certain, I think what they want 
is for your Reverence to give them permission to talk a 
little, while they are waiting for the beginning of the 
fiesta. Am I right? 

Novices. Yes! Yes! You are! Do, Mother, do! 

Sister Marcella. Long live our Mother! 

Prioress. Silence! Silence! What? Haven't they 
had talking enough to-day after the dispensation I allowed 
them this morning? 

ViCARESS. The appetite always grows by what it feeds 
on. It is an unruly monster, and woe to her who gives it 
rein. If they came under my authority, I would not give 
them opportunity to make a single slip, for the holy Apostle 
Saint James has said and well said: "He who saith that 
he hath not offended by his tongue, lies." 

Sister Marcella. Ah, Sister Crucifixion! Don't spoil 
this holiday for our Mother. 

Vicaress. Spoil it, eh? Who pays any attention to 
what I say in this house? 

Prioress. Will you promise not to whisper nor offend 
the Lord with foolish talk? 

Novices. We promise. 

Prioress. Then you may talk as much as you like until 
the hour for prayers. 

Novices. Thanks, thanks! [The bell rings at the 
entrance twice.'\ 



i6 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT /] 

Sister Tornera. Two rings! The doctor! 

Prioress. Cover your faces. [The nuns lower their 
veils over their faces.'\ And pass out through the cloister. 
[The nuns begin to file out slowly and disappear through 
the cloister.^ 

Sister Sagrario. [Approaching the Prioress.] This 
Sister has a felon, reverend Mother. 

Prioress. Remain then — and yiou too, Sister Maria 
Jesus. [To Sister Tornera.] Open, Sister. [The 
Prioress, Sister Tornera, Sister Sagrario and Sister 
Maria Jesus remain. Sister Tornera unchains, unbolts 
and opens the door. The Doctor enters. He is about 
sixty years of age.^ 

Sister Tornera. Ave Maria Purissima! 

Doctor. Conceived without sin. [He comes /».] 
Good morning, Sister. 

Sister Tornera. Good morning, Doctor. 

Doctor. Well, what progress are we making in holi- 
ness today? 

Sister Tornera. [Laughing. '\ Ho, ho, Doctor! 

Doctor. Enough! Enough! No doubt, no doubt! 
[Discovering the Prioress.] Congratulations, Mother. 

Prioress. What? A heretic, and yet you remember 
the days of the saints? 

Doctor. You are the saint, Mother; you are the saint. 

Prioress. Ah ! You must not scandalize me before my 
novices. 

Doctor. Novices? Where, where? I said so when I 
came in. I smell fresh meat. 

Prioress. Don Jose! Don Jose! 

Doctor. But I say no more. Come! To work! To 
work! . . . What is the trouble with these white lambs? 

Sister Sagrario. Your handmaid has a felon. Doc- 
tor. 

Doctor. Eh ? On the hand ? And such a lovely hand \ 
Well, we shall have to lance it, Sister. 



[ACT 7] THE CRADLE SONG 17 

Sister Sagrario. [Alarmed.^ What? Not now? 

Doctor. No, tomorrow, Sister. Tomorrow, unless 
it yields first to a poultice and five Pater nosters. Re- 
member, not one less! 

Sister Sagrario. [In perfect earnest.'] No, Doctor. 

Doctor. And this other one, eh? 

I*Ri0RESS. Ah, Doctor! She has been giving me a 
great deal of worry. She falls asleep in the choir; she 
sighs continually without being able to assign any reason; 
she cries over nothing whatever; she has no appetite for 
anything but salads . . . 

Doctor. How old are you? 

Sister Maria Jesus. Eighteen. 

Doctor. How long have you been in this holy house? 

Sister Maria Jesus. Two years and a half. 

Doctor. And how many more do you remain before 
you come to profession? 

Sister Mari'a Jesus. Two and a half more, if the 
Lord should be pleased to grant this unworthy novice grace 
to become his bride. 

Doctor. Let me see the face. 

Prioress. Lift your veil. [Sister Maria Jesus lifts 
her veil.] 

Doctor. Hm! The Lord has not bad taste. A little 
pale, but well rounded, well rounded. 

Sister Tornera. Don Jose! But who ever heard of 
such a doctor? 

Doctor. So, we have melancholy then, a constant dis- 
position to sigh, combined with loss of appetite — well, there 
is nothing else for it. Sister: a cold bath every morning 
and afterwards a few minutes' exercise in the garden. 

Sister Tornera. [Somewhat scandalized.] Exercise? 
Don Jose! 

Doctor. Unless we write at once home to her mother 
to hurry and fetch her and find us a good husband for 
her. 



i8 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT I] 

Sister Maria Jesus. Oh, Don Jose! But this Sister 
has taken her vows to the Church! 

Doctor. Well, in that case cold water. There is 
nothing else for it. For melancholy at eighteen, matri- 
mony or cold water. 

Sister Sagrario. [Summoning her courage.^ You 
always talk so much about it, Doctor, why don't you get 
married yourself? 

Doctor. Because I am sixty, daughter; and it is fifteen 
years since I have felt melancholy. Besides, whom do 
you expect me to marry when all the pretty girls go into 
convents ? 

Prioress. Doctor, doctor! This conversation will be- 
come displeasing to me. 

Doctor. Is this all the walking infirmary? 

Sister Tornera. Yes, Doctor. 

Doctor. And the invalid? How is she? 

Sister Tornera. She is the same to-day. Doctor. Poor 
Sister Maria of Consolation hasn't closed her eyes all 
night! Don't you remember? Yesterday she said she felt 
as if she had a viper gnawing at her vitals? Well, today 
she has a frog in her throat. 
y Doctor. Goodness gracious! Come, let me see, 
let me see. What a continual war the devil does wage 
against these poor sisters! — Long life, Mother, and happy 
, days! 

^^rioress. Long life to you. Doctor. [To Sister 
/•^^loRNERA.] Go with him. Sister, and meanwhile these 
children will take care of the gate. [Sister Tornera 
takes a bell from the table and, her veil covering her face, 
precedes the Doctor through the cloister, ringing solemnly 
in warning. They disappear.^ I must repair to the choir; 
I fear that today I have fallen behind in devotion and 
prayer. 

Sister Maria Jesus. Will your Reverence give us 
permission to call the others? 



[ACT /] THE CRADLE SONG 19 

Prioress. Yes, call them; but be careful that you com- 
mit no frivolity. [The Prioress poes om/.] 

Sister Mari'a Jesus. [^Approaching one of the arches 
of the cloister.] Sister Marcella! Sister Joanna of the 
Cross! Pst! Come out! We are watching the grille 
and we have permission to talk. 

[Sister Marcella and Sister Joanna of the 
Cross re-enter.] 

Sister Sagrario. What shall we talk about? 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Let Sister Marcella tell 
us a story. 

Sister Marcella. Yes, so that you'll all be shocked. 

Sister Mari'a Jesus. Ay/ We are not such hypo- 
crites as that, Sister. 

Sister Marcella. Or so that Sister Sagrario can run 
and tell on us to the Mother Mistress. 

Sister Sagrario. Oh, thank you, Sister! 

Sister Marcella. It wouldn't be the first time 
either. 

Sister Sagrario. You needn't mind me. Sisters. I am 
going to sit here in the corner and work, and you can 
talk about whatever you please. I shan't hear you. 

[She takes a pair of pincers, some beads and a piece 
of wire out of her pocket, and sitting down in a corner, 
begins to string a rosary.] 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Oh, come on. Sister! 
Don't be foolish. [They all surround her, and finally 
she allows herself to be persuaded, after many expres- 
sions of protest, like a small child who says "I wont 
play.'"] 

Sister Sagrario. Why! If they haven't forgotten the 
canary ! 

Sister Marcella. Poor thing! How do you like to 
be left in this nest of silly women, little fellow? Let's 
open the cage. 

Sister Maria Jesus. What for? 



1 Sis' 
his lii 



20 THE CRADLE SONG [JCT /] 

Sister Marcella. So that he can fly away, silly, if he 
wants to. 

Sister Sagrario. No, no! 

Sister Maria Jesus. Our Mother wouldn't like 
that. 

Sister Marcella. He would like it, though. Come 
on! [She opens the door of the cageJ\ Fly out, sweet- 
heart! Fly away, the world is yours. You are free! 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. He doesn't fly out. 

Sister Maria Jesus. He doesn't budge. 

Sister Marcella. Stupid, don't you see what a bright, 
sunny day it is? 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. They say canaries are 
^^.Jiwn in cages and, see, now he doesn't care to fly away. 
' Sister Maria Jesus. He'd rather stay shut up all 
ife like us nuns. 

Sister Marcella. Then you're a great fool, birdie. 
[She shuts the door of the cage.l God made the air for 
wings and He made wings to fly with. While he might 
be soaring away above the clouds, he is satisfied to stay here 
all day shut up in his cage, hopping between two sticks and 
a leaf of lettuce! What sense is there in a bird? Ay, 
Mother! And what wouldn't I give to be a bird! 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Yes! What wouldn't 
you give to be a bird? 

Sister Maria Jesus. They say that the swallows fly 
away every year over the ocean, and nobody knows where 
they go. 

Sister Sagrario. I often dream that I am flying in 
the night time — that is not flying, but floating — just float- 
ing in the air without wings. 

Sister Sagrario. I often dream that I am running 
fast — oh so fast! — and that I am skipping down stairs, 
without ever touching my feet to the ground, or to the 
stairs. 

Sister Sagrario. Isn't it nice, though? And how dis- 



[ACT /] THE CRADLE SONG ai 

appointed you are when you wake up and find out after 
all that it isn't so, that it was only a dream! 

Sister Marcella. I have dreamed that dream so many 
times, that now when I wake up, I hardly know whether 
it is the truth or a dream. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. What do you suppose it 
is that makes you dream the same dream so many times? 

Sister Marcella. I don't know, unless it is because it 
is the things you want to do, and you can't, and so you 
do them in dreams. 

Sister Maria Jesus. What nice things you want to 
do! 

Sister Sagrario. But then what good would it be if 
you could do them? For instance, if we had wings like 
birds, where would we fly? 

Sister Marcella. I? I would fly to the end of the 
world ! 

Sister Maria Jesus. I? To the Holy Land, to 
Mount Calvary! 

Sister Joanna of the Ckoss. I would fly to Bethle- 
hem and to the garden of Nazareth, where the Virgin lived 
with the child. 

Sister Sagrario. How do you know that there is a 
garden at Nazareth? 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Of course there's a gar- 
den there, with a brook running by it. The song says 
so: 

"The Virgin washed his garments 

And hung them on the rose. 
The little angels sing 

And the water onward flows" . . . 

[Simply.^ There was a garden, too, by our house in the 
village, with a big rosebush on the border of a brook that 
ran by it; and I used to kneel beside the brook, and sing 



22 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT /] 

that song while I washed my baby brother's clothes, for 
there were seven of us children, and I was the oldest. 
[Feelingly.] And that's what I miss most! [Drying her 
eyes with her hands.} Ay, Mother! And I always cry 
when I think of that baby boy! But it isn't right, I know 
. . . He loved me more than he did mother, and the 
day that they took me away to the Convent, and I left 
home, he cried — he cried so that he nearly broke his little 
baby heart! 

Sister Marcella. I have a brother and a sister, but 
they are both older than I am. My sister married two 
years ago, and now she has a baby. [With an air of im- 
portance.] She brought him here once to show me. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. [Interrupting her, 
greatly interested.] I remember. He stuck his little hand 
in through the grille and your sister kissed it. Did you 
ever think how soft babies' hands are? Whenever I take 
communion I try to think I am receiving our Lord as a 
little child, and I take and press him like this to my heart, 
and then it seems to me that he is so little and so helpless 
that he can't refuse me anything. And then I think that 
he is crying, and I pray to the Virgin to come and help 
me quiet him. And if I wasn't ashamed, because I know 
you would all laugh at me, I'd croon to him then, and 
rock him to sleep, and sing him baby songs. 
[The bell rings by the grille.] 

Sister Sagrario. The bell! I wonder who it is? 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Better ask. That's 
why they left us here. 

Sister Maria Jesus. Who'll do it? I won't. I'm 
afraid. 

Sister Sagrario. So am I. 

Sister Marcella. You're not usually so bashful, I must 
say. I'll ask, though I was the last to enter the house. 
[Going up to the grille, she says in a timid voice:] Ave 
Maria purissimaf [A moment's silence.] No one answers. 



[JCT /] THE CRADLE SONG 23 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Try again. Say it 
louder. 

Sister Marcella. [Raisinff her voice.'] Ave Maria 
purissima! 

Sister Sagrario. Nothing this time, either. 

Sister Maria Jesus. [^Summoning her courage, in a 
high-pitched voice.^ Ave Maria purissima! 

[Another silence. The Novices look at each other 
in surprise.} 

Sister Marcella. It is very strange. 

Sister Maria Jesus. It must be spirits. 

Sister Sagrario. Oh, I'm afraid! 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Nonsense! It's some 
little boy who has rung the bell on his way home from 
school, so as to be funny. 

Sister Maria Jesus. Peep through the hole and see if 
anybody is there. 

Sister Marcella. [Stooping down to look.] No, no- 
body. But it looks as if there was something on the wheel. 
Yes . . . 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Let me see! Yes . . . 
Can't you turn it? [She turns the wheel, and a second 
basket appears, carefully covered with a white cloth like 
the first.'] A basket! 

Sister Sagrario. Another present for our ..lother. 

Sister Maria Jesus. Of course it is! And here's a 
paper tied fast to it. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. [Reading, but without 
unfolding the paper.] "For the Mother Prioress." 

Sister Sagrario. Didn't I tell you? 

Sister Marcella. Somebody wants to give her a sur- 
prise. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. I wonder if it's Don 
Calixtus, the chaplain? 

Sister Marcella. Of course it is, child! 

Sister Maria Jesus. Or maybe it's the Doctor. 



24 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT /] 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. No. He was just here 
and he didn't say anything about it. 

Sister Sagrario. All the same it might be from him. 
Maybe he wants to keep it a secret. 

Sister Maria Jesus. Let's take it off the wheel. 

Sister Marcella. [Lifting and carrying it to the 
tableJ] We'd better put it here by the canary. My! 
Btit it's heavy! 

Sister Sagrario. I wonder what it is? 

Sister Marcella. Lets lift the corner and see. 

Sister Maria Jesus. No, for curiosity is a sin. 

Sister Marcella. What of it? Come on! Let's do 
it. Who will ever know? [She lifts the corner of the 
cloth a little and starts back quickly with a sharp cryJ] 
Ay!! 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. [Hurrying to look.l 
Jesus! 

Sister Maria Jesus. Ave Maria! [Looking too.'] 

Sister Sagrario. [Following.] God bless us! 

[The Convent is aroused at the cry of Sister Mar- 
cella. Presently The Prioress, The Vicaress, The 
Mistress of Novices and the other Nuns enter from 
different directions.] 

Prioress. What is the matter? Who called out? 

ViCARESS. Who gave that shout? 

Mistress of Novices. Is anything wrong? [The four 
NoviceSj trembling, stand with their hacks to the basket,, 
their bodies hiding it completely.] 

ViCARESS. It is easy to see it was Sister Marcella. 

Prioress. What has happened? Speak! Why are 
you all standing in a row like statutes? 

Mistress of Novices. Has anything happened to you? 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. No, reverend Mother, 
not to us; but 

Sister MARfA Jesus. No, reverend Mother; it's . . . 

Sister Marcella. Someone rang the bell by the 
wheel . . . and we looked . . . and there was nobody 



[ACT /] THE CRADLE SONG 25 

there . . . and they left a basket . . . this basket . . . and 
. . . and your sister had the curiosity to undo it . . . 

ViCARESS. Naturally, you couldn't do otherwise. 

SiSTERi Marcella, And it's . « . 

Prioress. Well? What is it? 

Sister Marcella. It's ... I ... I think it would 
be better for your Reverence to look yourself. 

Prioress. By all means! Let me see. [She goes up 
to the basket and uncovers rV.] Ave Maria! [In a hoarse 
whisper.^ A baby! 

All. [Variously affected.} A baby? [The Vicaress, 
horrified, crosses herself.} 

Prioress. [Falling back.} Your Reverences may see 
for yourselves. [The Nuns hurry up to the basket and sur- 
round it.} 

Vicaress. Ave Maria/ How can such an insignifi- 
cant object be so pink? 

Mistress of Novices. It's asleep. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. See it open its little 
hands! 

Sister Maria Jesus. Wliy! It has hair under the 
edge of its cap! 

Sister Sagrario. It is like an angel! 

Vicaress. A pretty angel for the Lord to send us. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. [As if she had been 
personally offended.} Ay, Mother Vicaress! You mustn't 
say that. 

Prioress. [Tenderly.} Where do you come from, little 
one? 

Vicaress. From some nice place, you may be sure. 

Prioress. Who can tell, Mother? There is so much 
poverty in the world, so much distress. 

Vicaress. There is so much vice, reverend Mother. 

Mistress of Novices. You say that there was nobody 
at the grille? 

Sister Marcella. Nobody; no, Mother. The bell 
rang; we answered . . . but there was nobody there. 



26 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT I] 

Sister Sagrario. [Picking up the paper which has 
fallen on the floorJ] Here is a paper which came with it. 

Prioress. [Taking the paper J] "For the Mother Pri- 
oress." 

ViCARESS. An appropriate present for your Reverence. 

Prioress. Yes, it is a letter. 

[She unfolds the paper and begins to readJ\ 
"Reverend Mother: 

Forgive the liberty which a poor woman takes, trusting 
in your Grace's charity, of leaving at the grille this new- 
bom babe. I, my lady, am one of those they call women 
of the street, and I assure you I am sorry for it; but this 
is the world, and you can't turn your back on it, and it 
costs as much to go down as it does to go up, and that is 
what I am writing to tell you, my lady. The truth is 
this little girl hasn't any father, that is to say it is the 
same as if she didn't have any, and I — who am her mother 
— I leave her here, although it costs me something to leave 
her; for although one is what one is, one isn't all bad, 
and I love her as much as any mother loves her baby, 
though she is the best lady in the land. But all the same, 
though she came into this world without being wanted by 
anyone, she doesn't deserve to be the daughter of the woman 
she is, above all, my lady, of her father, and I don't want 
her to have to blush for having been born the way she was, 
nor for having the mother she has, and to tell it to me to 
my face, and I pray you by everj'thing you hold dear, my 
lady, that you will protect her and keep her with you in 
this holy house, and you won't send her to some orphanage 
or asylum, for I was brought up there myself, and I know 
what happens in them, although the sisters are kind — ^yes, 
they are — and have pity. And some day, when she grows 
up and she asks for her mother, you must tell her that 
the devil has carried her away, and I ask your pardon, for 
I must never ^how myself to her, nor see her again, nor 
give you any care nor trouble, so you can do this good 
work in peace, if you will do it, for I implore you again, 



[ACT 7] THE CRADLE SONG 27 

my lady, that you will do it for the memory of your own 
dear mother, and God will reward you, and she will live 
in peace, and grow up as God wills, for what the eyes have 
not seen the heart cannot understand, my lady." 

ViCARESS. Bless us! Ave Maria/ 

Mistress of Novices. Poor woman! 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Baby dear! Darling 
baby! 

ViCARElss. What pretty mothers the Lord selects for his 
children ! 

Prioress. God moves in his own ways, Sister. God 
moves in his own ways. 

Sister Inez. Is that all the letter says? 

Prioress. What more could it say? 

[The Doctor and Sister Tornera have re-entered 
during the reading. "[ 

Doctor. Exactly. What more could it say? 

Prioress. What do you think, Don Jose? 

Doctor. I think that somebody has made you a very 
handsome present. 

Prioress. But what are we going to do with it? Be- 
cause I . . . -thisf poor woman . . . she has put this poor 
creature into our hands, and I would protect her willingly, 
as she asks, and keep her here with us . . . 

Novices. Yes, yes, Mother! Do! Do! 

Mistress of Novices. Silence! 

Prioress. But I don't know if we can . . . that is, if 
it is right, if it is according to law . . . for, when we 
enter this holy rule, we renounce all our rights . . . and to 
adopt a child legally ... I don't know whether it can be 
done. How does it seem to you? 

Doctor. I agree with you. Legally, you have no right 
to maternity. 

Vicaress. And even if we had, would it be proper for 
our children to be the offspring of ignominy and sin? 

Prioress. I would not raise that question, reverend 
Mother, for the child is not responsible for the sin in which 



28 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT I] 

she was born, and her mother, in renouncing her mother- 
hood, has bitterly paid the penalty. 

ViCARESS. Yes, it didn't cost her much to renounce it. 

Prioress. Do we know, Mother? Do we know? 

ViCARESS. We can guess. It is easy enough to go 
scattering children about the world if all you have to do 
is leave them to be picked up afterwards by the first per- 
son who happens along. 

Doctor. How easy it is might be a matter for dis- 
cussion. There are aspects of it which are not so easy. 

Sister Sagrario. Oh! She's opened her mouth! 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. The little angel is 
hungry. 

Sister Maria Jesus. She's sucking her thumb! 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Make her take her 
thumb out of her mouth. She'll swallow too much and 
then she'll have a pain. 

Sister Sagrario. Don't suck you fingers, baby. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Isn't she good, though? 
You stop her playing, and she doesn't cry. 

Prioress. There is another thing we must consider. 
What are we to do for a nurse? 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. The gardener's wife 
has a little boy she is nursing now. 

Prioress. In that case I hardly think she would care 
to be responsible for two. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. But it won't be any 
trouble — she's so tiny! Besides, we can help her out with 
cow's milk and a little pap. The milk will keep on the 
ice and we can clear it with a dash of tea. 

Doctor. It is easy to see Sister Joanna of the Cross 
has had experience with children. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Your handmaid has six 
little brothers and sisters. Ah, reverend Mother! Give 
her to me to take care of and then you will see how strong 
she'll grow up. 

ViCARESS. Nothing else was needed to complete the 



[ACT /] THE CRADLE SONG 29 

demoralization of the Novices. You can see for your- 
selves how naturally they take to this dissipation. 

Prioress. I want you to tell me frankly what you think 
— all of you. [All speak at once.^ 

Mistress of Novices. Your Sister thinks, reverend 
Mother . . . 

Sister Tornera. Your handmaid . . . 

Sister Inez. It seems to me . . . 

Prioress. [Smiling.] But one at a time. 

Sister Tornera. It is an angel which the Lord has 
sent us, and your Sister thinks that we ought to receive her 
like an angel, with open arms. 

Mistress of Novices. Of course we ought. Suppose, 
your Reverences, it hadn't been a little girl, but ... I 
don't know — some poor animal, a dog, a cat, or a dove, 
like the one which flew in here two years ago and fell 
wounded in the garden trying to get away from those 
butchers at the pigeon-traps. Wouldn't we have taken 
it in? Wouldn't we have cared for it? And wouldn't 
it have lived happy forever afterward in its cage? And 
how can we do less for a creature with a soul than for a 
bird? 

Sister Tornera. We must have charity. 

Vicaress. I am glad the Mother Mistress of Novices 
has brought up the incident of that bird, for it will absolve 
me from bringing it up, as it might seem, with some malice. 
It was against my advice that that creature was received 
into this house, and afterward we had good reason to re- 
gret it, with this one saying "Yes, I caught him!" and that 
one, "No, I took care of him!" and another "He opens 
his beak whenever I pass by!" and another, "See him flap 
his wings! He does it at me!" — vanities, sophistries, de- 
ceits all of them, snares of the devil continually! And if 
all this fuss was about a bird, what will happen to us with 
a child in the house? This one will have to dress it, that 
one will have to wash it, another will be boasting, "It is 
looking at me!" another that it's at her that it googles 



30 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT /] 

most . . . There is Sister Joanna of the Cross making 
faces at it already! 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. What did your Rever- 
ence say? 

ViCARESS. Dissipation and more dissipation! Your 
Reverences should remember that when we passed be- 
hind these bars, we renounced forever all personal, all 
selfish affection. 

Mistress of Novices. Is it selfish to give a poor foun- 
dling a little love? 

ViCARESS. It is for us. Our God is a jealous God. 
The Scriptures tell us so. 

Mistress of Novices. Bless us! Mercy me! 

ViCARESS. And this quite apart from other infractions 
of our order which such indulgence must involve. For 
example, your Reverences — and I among the first — take no 
account of the fact that it this very moment we are trans- 
gressing our rule. We are conversing with our faces un- 
veiled in the presence of a man. 

Prioress. That is true. 

Doctor. Ladies, as far as I am concerned — ^Take no 
account of me. . . . 

Prioress. No, Doctor, you are of no account. I beg 
your pardon, Don Jose; I hardly know what I am say- 
ing. — Your Reverence is right. Cover yourselves — that 
is, it makes no difference . . . The harm has been 
done . . . only once. . . . But comply with your cor>- 
sciences . . . [The Vicaress covers her face. The others, 
hesitating, wait for the Prioress^ who makes a movement 
to do so, but then desists. The Vicaress^ when she is 
covered, cannot see that she has become the victim of the 
rest.^ But where were we? I confess that my heart 
prompts me to keep the child. 

Vicaress. The Doctor already has told us that we have 
no right to maternity. 

Mistress of Novices. But the child is God's child, 
and she is returning to her father's mansion. 



[ACT I] THE CRADLE SONG 31 

ViCARESS. God has other mansions for his abandoned 
children. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Don't send her to the 
asylum ! 

Sister Sagrario. No! 

Prioress. Her mother entreats us. 

ViCARESS. Her mother is not her mother. She has 
abandoned her. 

Prioress. She has not abandoned her. She has en- 
trusted her to others who seemed worthier to undertake her 
keeping. 

ViCARESS. Unholy egotism! 

Mistress of Novices. Christian heroism! 

ViCARESS. So? We are coining phrases, are we? Is 
this a convent, or an illustrated weekly? 

Mistress of Novices. Life is hard to some people, 
and thorny. 

ViCARESS. Yes, and into the details of it, it is not be- 
coming for us to go, since by the grace of God we have 
been relieved from the temptations and the frailties of the 
world. 

Mistress of Novices. All the more, then, we ought 
to have compassion on those who have fallen and are down. 

ViCARESS. Compassion? Mush and sentiment! 

Mistress of Novices. The veil of charity! 

Prioress. Silence! And let us not begin by rending 
it, irritating ourselves and aggravating each other. — Don 
Jose, I suppose this birth will have to be reported? 

Doctor. It will, madam. To the Register. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. But then they will take 
her away? 

Doctor. If nobody wants her. But if you have made 
up your minds you would like to keep her, I think I can 
propose a solution. 

Prioress. A solution that is legal? 

Doctor. Perfectly. Thanks be to God I am a single 
man. But, although I am not a saint, yet I cannot take 



32 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT I] 

to myself the credit of having augmented the population 
of this country by so much as a single soul. I have not a 
penny, that is true, but like everybody else, I have a couple 
of family names. They are at the service of this little 
stranger, if they will be of use to her. She will have no 
father and no mother — I cannot help that — but she will 
have an honorable name. 

Prioress. Do you mean to say? 

Doctor. That I am willing to adopt her; exactly — 
and to entrust her to your care, because my own house . . . 
The fact is the hands of Doiia Cecilia are a little rough 
for handling these tiny Dresden dolls, and perhaps I might 
prove a bit testy myself. The neighbors all say that the 
air grows blue if my coat rubs against me as I walk down 
the street. 

[All laugh.'] 

Doctor. Besides I am sure Sister Crucifixion is better 
equipped for the robing of saints. 

ViCARESS Doctor, God help us both! 

Doctor. Is it agreed? 

Prioress. God reward you for it! Yes, in spite of 
everything. We shall notify the Superior immediately. 
It is not necessary that the child should live in the cloister. 
She can remain with the gardener's wife until she has 
grown older, and enter here later when she has the dis- 
cretion to do so. She has been entrusted to our hands, 
and it is our duty to take care of her — a duty of con- 
science. 

Doctor. If I cannot be of further service, I will go. 
And I will speak to the Register. 

Prioress. As you go, be so kind as to ask the gardener's 
wife to come in. We must see if she will take charge 
of the child and nurse her. And tell her also to bring 
with her some of her little boy's clothes. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Yes, for we shall have 
to make a change immediately. 



[ACT /] THE CRADLE SONG 33 

Sister Sagrario. We shall? 

ViCARESS. Not a change, but a beginning. 

Doctor. Good afternoon, ladies. 

All. Good afternoon, Don Jose. [The Doctor goes 
out.] 

[A pause.] 

Prioress. Sisters, may God pardon us if we have acted 
in this with aught but the greatest purity of motive. I 
hope and pray that His grace will absolve us of offense, 
nor find us guilty of having loved too much one of His 
poop children. The child shall be brought up in the shadow 
of this house, for we may say that her guardian angel has 
delivered her at the door. From this hour forth we are 
all charged with the salvation of her soul. The Lord has 
entrusted to us an angel and we must return to Him a 
saint. Watch and pray. 

All. Watch and pray. We will, reverend Mother. 

Prioress. And now bring her to me, Sister Joanna of 
the Cross, for as yet it can scarcely be said that I have 
seen her. [Looking at the child.] Lamb of God! Sleep- 
ing as quietly in her basket as if it were a cradle of pure 
gold! What is it that children see when they are asleep 
that brings to their faces an expression of such peace? 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. They see God and the 
Virgin Mary. 

Sister Maria Jesus. Maybe the angel who watches 
over them whispers in their ears and tells them about 
heaven. 

Prioress. Who can say? But it is a comfort to the 
soul to see a child asleep. 

Sister Maria Jesus. It makes you want to be a saint, 
reverend Mother. 

Sister Sagrario. Will your Reverence grant me per- 
mission to give her a kiss? 

Sister Maria Jesus. Oh, no! For it hasn't been 
baptized yet, and it is a sin to kiss a heathen! 



34 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT I] 

Prioress. She is right. We must send for the Chap- 
lain and have her baptized immediately. 

Mistress of Novices. What shall we call her? 
Sister Inez. Teresa, after our beloved Mother. 
Sister Tornera. Maria of the Miracles. 
Sister Sagrario. Bienvenida. [A large bell rings 
outside J\ 

Prioress. The summons to the choir! We can de- 
cide later. Let us go. [The Nuns file out slowly, looking 
at the child as they go.'\ Remain with her, Sister Joanna 
of 'the Cross — you understand children; and wait for 
the coming of the gardener's wife. Follow the devotions 
from wheref you are, and do not let your attention falter. 
[All the Nuns go out, except Sister Joanna of 
THE Cross^ who bends over the basket; then sinks 
on her knees beside it. The choir is heard within, led 
by a single Nun in solo, the responses being made in 
chorus, in which SiSTER Joanna of the Cross joins. 
While the NuN is leading. Sister Joanna of the 
Cross talks and plays with the child; then she makes 
her responses with the others.^ 
Voice Within. In nomine Patri et Filio et Spiritui 
Sancto. [Sister Joanna of the Cross crosses herself 
and says with the other Nuns:] 

Voices Within and Sister Joanna of the Cross. 
Amen/ 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. [To the child.] 
Pretty one! Pretty one! 

Voice Within. Deus in adjutorium meum intende. 
Voices Within and Sister Joanna of the Cross. 
Domine ad adjuvandum me festina. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. [To the child.] Do 
you love me, sweetheart? Do you love me? 

Voice Within. Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto. 

Voices Within in Chorus. Sicut erat in principio et 

nunc et semper et insecula seculorum. Amen! Allelulial 



[JCT I] THE CRADLE SONG 35 

[But this time Sister Joanna of the Cross makes 

no response. Instead she bends over the basket, 

embracing the child passionately , oblivious of all else, 

and says'.^i 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Little one ! Little one ! 

Whom do you love? 

Curtain 



INTERLUDE 

Spoken by the Poet 

You came tonight to listen to a play; 
Instead into a convent you made way. 
Singular hardihood! Almost profanation! 
What will a poet not do to create sensation? 
Pardon, good nuns, him who disturbs the rest 
And troubles the serene quietude of your nest, 
Kindling amid the shades of this chaste bower 
The flame of love you have renounced and flower. 
Nay! Do not frown because I have said love, 
For you must know, chaste brides of God above, 
That which you have deemed charity and pity, 
The act of mercy, clemency for the pretty, 
Unfriended foundling fate has brought along. 
Yearning of adoption and the cradle song. 
No other is than love's fire, divine and human 
Passion ever brooding in the heart of woman. 

Ah, love of woman, by whose power we live, 
OfFend so often — but to see forgive! 
Whence do you draw your grace but from above? 
Whence simply? Simply from maternal love! 
Yes, we are children, woman, in your arms; 
Your heart is bread, you soothe our wild alarms, 
Like children give us the honey of your breast, 
In a cradle always your lover sinks to rest 
Although he prostitutes our grovelling flesh. 
Mother if lover, mother if sister too. 
Mother by pure essence, day long and night through, 
Mother if you laugh, or if with us you cry, 

36 



THE CRADLE SONG 37 

In the core of being, in fibre and in mesh, 
Every woman carries, so God has willed on high, 
A baby in her bosom, sleeping eternally! 

So being women, you are lovers, nuns; 

Despite the ceintured diamond which runs 

Across your virgin shields, showing in your lives 

How to be mothers without being wives. 

And in this child of all, you have poured all 

The honey of your souls, and blended all 

The fire of the sun, all fragrance and all light, 

The first sweet morning kiss, the last good-night, 

Till all her being tenderness exhales. 

Her heart the home of love and nightingales. 

A hundred times a woman but no saint. 

The nuns pray in the choir; outside her plaint 

A song; her prayer, gay rippling laughter. 

Mass and the May morning slip by, she running after 

Or dreaming in the garden. The roses smell 

So sweetly! No child this for the hermits' cell. 

She loves Heaven, but in good company; 

And before the altar of the Virgin see 

Her with a boy, ruddier than the candle's flame, 

Who calls her "Sister," the nuns "Aunt" for name. 

A smiling, bashful boy, who soon will grow 

To be a strong man, learn to give a blow 

And take one, conquer worlds and redress wrong. 

Justice in his heart, and on his lips a song! 

Sometimes she takes the cat up, calls it "Dear!" 

The nuns cross themselves, religiously severe. 

'The child is mad," they say. Ah! No such thing! 

With her into the convent entered Spring. 

This then the simple story. The poet would 
Have told it day by day, if well he could, 
In shining glory. But the task were vain. 
The glory of our daily lives is plain. 



38 THE CRADLE SONG 

For life builds up itself in such a way, 
The water runs so clear, so bright the day, 
That time is lulled to sleep within these walls. 
An age or moment? Which passes? Who recalls? 
The wheel turns round, but no one notes the turn. 
What matter if the sisters' locks that burn 
With gold, in time to silvery gray have paled? 
Their hoods conceal it. And the pinks have failed 
In the cheeks, and the lilies on the brow. 
There are no mirrors. The sisters then as now 
May walk in the garden, believe it still is May. 

Among these hours which softly slip away, 

This timeless time, we shyly pause at that 

In which there is most warmth, the concordat 

Of youth and incense, breaking of the spring. 

The years have passed, the child is ripening. 

The curtain rises on a soul in flower. 

And a love chapter claims us for an hour. 

It is quiet afternoon, quiet breeding; 

The nuns are sewing and their sister reading: 



CHAPTER II 

Parlor of a Convent. 

At the rear, a grille with a double row of bars. A 
curtain of dark woolen cloth hangs over the grille and inter- 
cepts the view of the outer parlor, to which visitors are 
admitted. This is without decoration, and may be brightly 
illuminated at the proper moment from the garden. A 
number of oil paintings of saints hang upon the walls — all 
of them very old and showing black stains. With them 
a carved crucifix or large black wooden cross. A small 
window furnished with heavy curtains, which, when drawn, 
shut off the light completely, is cut in the wall of the inner 
parlor on either side of the grille, high up toward the 
ceiling. A pine table, a carved arm chair, two other arm 
chairs, smaller chairs and benches, together with all the 
materials necessary for sewing. 

The Prioress, The Mistress of Novices, Sisters 
Inez and Tornera, Sister Sagrario, Sister Joanna of 
THE Cross, Sister Marcella, Sister Maria Jesus and 
the other Nuns are discovered upon the rise of the curtain. 
Only The Vicaress is absent. All are seated, sewing, with 
the exception of Sister MARfA Jesus, who stands in the 
centre, to the left of The Prioress's chair, reading. A 
bride's trousseau is spread out upon the table and chairs. 
It is embroidered elaborately, trimmed with lace and tied 
with blue silk ribbons. A new trunk stands against the 
wall on the right, the trays being distributed about the 
benches and upon the floor. 

Eighteen years have passed. It must be remembered 
that the Nuns have changed in appearance, and those who 
were novices have now professed and have exchanged the 
white for the black veil. 

39 



40 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT II] 

Sister Maria Jesus. [Reading and intoning.'] "The 
Treasury of Patience, the Meditations of an Afflicted Soul 
in the presence of it5 God." 

Sister Marcella. [Sighing.] Ayl 
Sister Maria Jesus. [Reading.] "First Meditation: 
The Sorrows of an Unhappy Spirit, Submerged in a Sea 
of Woe." 

[Outside, Teresa's voice is heard, singing gaily.] 
Teresa. "Come singing and bringing 
Flowers from the field, 
Flowers from the field, 
Sweet gardens, to Mary. 
Flowers you must yield 
For Love's sanctuary!" 
[The reader stops, and, smiling, glances in the direc- 
tion of the window through which the voice is heard. 
The other Nuns smile also, complacently.] 
Prioress. [With affected severity.] The child inter- 
rupts us continually. 

Sister Inez. And a day like to-day! 
Sister Joanna of the Cross. [Sympathetically.] 
She sings like a lark. 

Mistress of Novices. [Indulgently.] She is so 
young ! 

Sister Marcella. Ay. Mother! 
Prioress. Continue reading, Sister Maria Jesus. 
Sister Maria Jesus. [Reading.] "The Sorrows of 
an Unhappy Spirit, Submerged in a Sea of Woe. My God, 
O my God, save me, for every moment I die! Over- 
whelmed, I sink in the midst of this terrible storm. Every 
moment I am buffeted and borne down. I am sucked 
into the uttermost depths, and there is no health in me!" 
Teresa. [Singing.] 

"From the glory of your brightness, 

Radiantly sweet, 
O, let me stoop and bend me 
To kiss your feet! 



[JCT II] THE CRADLE SONG 41 

Let me stoop and bend me 
To kiss your feet!" 
[Again the reader stops. The NuNS smile agedn.] 
Prioress. Sister Sagrario, will you step out into the 
garden and ask the child not to sing? We are reading. 

[Sister Sagrario goes out, right j after making the 
customary reverence.] 
Continue, Sister, continue. 

Sister Maria Jesus. [Reading.] "There is no health 
in me. I cannot support myself; I cannot resist the shock 
of the horrible onrushing waves." 
Teresa. [Singing.] 

"You too were happy, Mary, 

Happy in his love, 
Flowers of love and springtime 
That bloom above!" 
[The song is broken off suddenly, as if the NuN had 
arrived and commanded Teresa to stop. A moment 
later, there is a sound of light laughter.] 
Prioress. It cannot be helped. [Smiling.] The child 
was born happy and she will die so. [To the reader.] 
Continue. 

Sister Marcella. Ay, Lady of Sorrows! 
Prioress. But Sister Marcella, my daughter, why do 
you sigh like this? Are you unwell? 

Sister Marcella. No, reverend Mother. But your 
daughter has temptations to melancholy. 

Prioress. The Lord protect and keep you. You know 
how it displeases me to see the shadow of melancholy 
enter this house. 

Sister Marcella. [Making a reverence.] Ay, rev- 
erend Mother, pardon me and assign me some penance if 
I sin, but your daughter cannot help it. 

Prioress. Who was thinking of* sin? Go out into the 
garden and take a little sunshine, daughter; that is what 
you need. 

Sister Marcella. Ay, reverend Mother, you don't 



42 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT II] 

know what you say! For when your daughter sees the 
flowers in the garden, and the blue sky so bright above 
them, and the sun so beautiful overhead, the temptation 
comes upon her then to sigh more than ever. Ay/ 

Prioress. If that is the case, return to your seat and 
let us pray that it may cease. But do not let me hear 
you sigh again, for I do not wish to send you to the prison 
to brighten your spirit with solitude and confinement. 

Sister Marcella. As your Reverence desires. [Re- 
turning to her seat.] Ay, my soul ! [The Prioress raises 
her eyes to heaven in resignation.] 

A Nun. Ay, Blessed Virgin! 

Another. Ay, Jesus/ 

Prioress. [Somewhat ruffled.] What? Is this an 
epidemic? Nothing is wanting now but that we should be- 
gin to sigh in chorus. Remember, it is with gladness and 
thanksgiving that the Lord is to be served ''in hymnis et 
canticis," for the second of the fruits of the Spirit is joy and 
there is none higher but love, from which it springs. [A 
Pause. Sister Maria Jesus reopens the book, and with- 
out waiting for the signal from the Prioress, resumes read- 
ing.] 

Sister Maria Jesus. [Reading.] "I cannot resist the 
shock of the horrible onrushing waves. They break over 
me unceasingly; irresistibly they bear me down." 

Prioress. Close the book. Sister Maria Jesus, for the 
blessed father who wrote it, alas, he too was of a melancholy 
turn of mind! [Sister MARfA Jesus closes the book, makes 
a reverence and sits down to sew. The Mother Vicaress 
appears in the door on the left, accompanied solemnly by 
two other nuns.] 

Vicaress. [Greatly agitated.] Ave Maria Purissimal 

Prioress. Conceived without sin. 

Vicaress. Have I permission, reverend Mother.' 

Prioress. Enter and speak. [Looking at her.] If I 
am not mistaken, your Reverence is greatly disturbed. 



[ACT II] THE CRADLE SONG 43 

ViCARESS. You are not mistaken, reverend Mother. No, 
and I dare affirm it is not for a slight reason. Your 
Reverence will be judge if this is the time and place to 
confront with a charge of ipso facto a member of this com- 
munity. 

Prioress. Speak, if the knowledge of the fault in public 
will not in itself constitute a scandal and a cause of offense. 

ViCARESS. In the opinion of your handmaid all cause 
of scandal will be avoided by looking the offense straight 
in the face. 

Prioress. Speak then. 

ViCARESS. [Making a profound inclination.] I obey. 
Reverend Mother, while making the round of my inspec- 
tion of the cells with these two monitors, as your Reverence 
has been pleased to command . . . [The two Monitors 
each make a reverence.] And coming to the cell of Sister 
Marcella . . . [All the Nuns look at Sister Marcella, 
who lowers her eyes.] I found under the mattress of the 
bed — in itself a suspicious circumstance and sufficient to 
constitute a sin — an object which should never be found 
in the hands of a religious, an object which, to say nothing 
of the sin against the rule of holy poverty which the pri- 
vate possession and concealment of any property whatever 
must presuppose, is by its very nature a root of perdition 
and an origin and source of evil. 

Prioress. Conclude, Mother, in God's name! For you 
keep us in suspense. What is this object? 

ViCARESS. Disclose it, sister. [To one of the Moni- 
tors.] 

[The Monitor makes a reverence, and draws from 
her sleeve a piece of glass, covered on one side with 
quick-silver.] 

Prioress. A piece of looking-glass. 

ViCARESS. Exactly, a piece of looking-glass! [Hor- 
rified silence on the part of the community.] 

Prioress. What has Sister Marcella to say to this? 



44 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT II] 

Sister Marcella. {Leaving her place and kneeling 
before the Prioress.] Mother, I confess my guilt and I 
beseech your pardon. 

Prioress. Rise. [Sister Marcella rises.] Unhappy 
woman! What was the use of this piece of glass? 

ViCARESS. To look at herself in it, and amuse herself 
with the sight of her beauty, thus offending her Maker with 
pride and vain glory, and the exhibition of her taste. 

Sister Marcella. [Humbly.] No, reverend Mother; 
no! 

ViCARESS. Or else to dress herself up and fix herself 
by it, and make faces and grimaces such as they do on 
the streets in these days. [The Vicaress^ who has taken 
the mirror, looks at herself in it for a moment, then turns 
it hurriedly away.] 

Sister Marcella. No, reverend Mother. 

Prioress. For what then? 

Sister Marcella. For nothing, reverend Mother. 

Prioress. What? For nothing? 

Sister Marcella. Your daughter means for nothing 
evil. On the contrary . . . 

ViCARESS. H'a! Now I suppose we are going to hear 
that it is a virtue in a religious to have a glass! 

Sister Marcella. No, reverend Mother, it is not a 
virtue. But your Reverences know already that your Sister 
suffers from temptations to melancholy. 

ViCARESS. Yes, yes . . . 

Sister Marcella. And when they seize upon her too 
strongly, they put it into her head to climb trees and run 
along the tops of walls, and jump over the fences in the 
garden, and to throw herself into the water of the foun- 
tain, and since your Sister knows that, in a religious, these 
. . . these . . . 

ViCARESS. These extravagances. 

Sister Marcella. Are unbecoming, your Sister catches 
a sunbeam in the mirror and makes it dance among the 
leaves and across the ceiling of her cell, and over the walls 



[ACT II] THE CRADLE SONG 45 

opposite, and so she consoles herself and imagines that it 
is a butterfly or a bird, and can go wherever it pleaseth. 

ViCARESS. It can, and stay there. 

Prioress. For this fault. Sister Marcella . . . [Sister 
Marcella kneels.] which, without being a grave one, 
yet is more than a little, considered according to the con- 
stitution of our rule, I assign you this penance. Tonight, 
before you retire, you are to repeat four times in your cell 
the psalm "Quam d'tlecta." Rise, and return to your seat. 
[Sister Marcella obeys, but before seating herself she 
makes a reverence before each of the Nuns.] [To the 
ViCARESS.] You may be seated. [The Vicaress and the 
two Monitors seat themselves.] [Three light knocks on 
the door. It is Teresa who says:] 

Teresa. Ave Maria Purissimaf 

Prioress. Conceived without sin. 

Teresa. May I come in? 

Prioress. Come in. [Teresa enters. She is eighteen, 
very pretty, very sunny and very gay, with nothing about 
her to suggest the mystic or the religious. She is dressed 
simply in gray and wears a white apron. She has a flower 
in her hair, which is arranged modestly, and without an 
excess of curls or ornament.] Where are you coming from 
in such a hurry? You are all out of breath. 

Teresa. [Speaks always with the greatest simplicity, 
without affectation or pretense of any sort.] From dress- 
ing the altar of the Virgin. 

Prioress. Did that put you out of breath? 

Teresa. No, Mother. It's because I wanted it to be 
all in white to-day, and there weren't white flowers enough 
in the garden, so I had to climb up and cut some branches 
off the acacia. 

Mistress of Novices. Did you climb a tree? 

Teresa. Yes, I climbed two; there weren't enough 
blossoms on one. 

Mistress of Novices. Jesusl 

Vicaress. Ave MariaJ 



46 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT II] 

Teresa. I wish you could see the view from the top 
of the big acacia! [Sister Marcella's eyes open wide 
with envy.] 

ViCARESS. Child, you have put yourself beyond the pale 
of God's mercy! 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. You might have fallen! 
It's too terrible to think of! 

Teresa. Fallen? No, Mother. Why, I've climbed it 
a hundred times! 

Prioress. Then you must not do it again. 

Mistress of Novices. [Regret fully.] It is too late to 
forbid her now. 

Prioress. [Sorrowfully.] That is true. 

Sister Inez. It is the last day she will dress the altar. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. The very last/ 

Teresa. Ah, Mothers! You mustn't talk like this. 
Don't be sad. 

ViCARESS. No, we had better behave like you do, though 
it doesn't seem possible when you consider the day that 
it is, and you laughing and carrying on like one possessed! 

Prioress. The Mother is right. A little more feeling 
to-day, daughter, a manner more subdued, would not have 
been out of place. 

Teresa. You are right, reverend Mothers — you always 
are, in the holiness, which like a halo surrounds your 
reverend heads; but when a girl wants to laugh she wants 
to laugh, although, as Mother Anna St. Francis says, it 
may be the solemnest day of her life. 

Mistress of Novices. It is a solemn day, a very solemn 
day. You are leaving this house in which you have passed 
eighteen years, without scarcely so much as taking thought 
how it was you came to be here. Tomorrow, you will be 
your own mistress, and you will have upon your conscience 
the responsibilities of a wife. 

ViCARESS. Which believe me, are not light. Men are 
selfish, fickle . . . 

Teresa. [Timidly.] Antonio is very good. 



[ACT II] THE CRADLE SONG 47 

ViCARESS. However good he may be, he is a man, and 
men are accustomed to command. They have been from 
the beginning of the v^^orld, and it has affected their char- 
acter. And since you are very independent yourself, and 
like to have your own way . . . 

Teresa. Yes, I have been spoiled I know; but you will 
see now how good I will be. It will come out all right. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Do you want to spoil the 
day for her? 

Teresa. No, Mother — no; you won't spoil it, for I 
am very, very happy. You have all been so good to me! 

ViCARESS. Nonsense! No such thing. 

Teresa. But it isn't nonsense. I know this is God's 
house, but you might have closed the doors to me, and you 
have flung them wide open, freely. I have lived here eight- 
een years and in all this time, to the very moment that I 
am leaving it, you have never once reminded me that I 
have lived here on your charity. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Don't say such things! 

Teresa. Yes, I must say them. On your charity, on 
your alms — like a poor beggar and an outcast. I don't 
mind saying it nor thinking it, for I have been so happy 
here — yes, I am happy now — happier than the daughter of a 
king : for I love you all so much that I want to kiss even the 
walls and hug the trees, for even the walls and the trees 
have been kind to me. This has been the Convent of my 
Heart! 

Sister Marcella. It has been your home. If you had 
only been content always to remain in it ! 

Prioress. We must not talk like this. God moves 
in His own ways. 

Mistress of Novices. And in all of them His children 
may do His service. 

ViCARESS. The child was not born to be a religious. The 
things of the world appeal to her too strongly. 

Teresa. It is true. The world appeals to me — poor 
me! It seems to me sometimes as if everybody loved me, 



48 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT II] 

as if everything was calling to me everywhere to come. I 
have been so happy in this house, and yet, all the time, I 
have been thinking how great the world was, how wonder- 
ful! Whenever I have gone out into the street, how my 
heart leaped! I felt as if I were going to fly, it was so 
light! My brain was in a whirl. Then I was so glad to 
come back again into this house, it felt so good, as if you 
were all taking me up once more into your arms, as if I 
had fallen to sleep in them again and was warm, folded be- 
neath the shelter of the everlasting wings. 

ViCARESS. The wings of your good angel, who stood 
waiting at the door — stood waiting till you came. 

Prioress. Why should he have to wait? Hfer good 
angel always has gone with her, and surely there never 
has been a time when he has had to turn away his face. 
Am I right, daughter? 

Teresa. You are. Mother. [Sincerely.] 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. They needn't have asked 
her that! 

Sister Maria Jesus. [Rising.] Here are the bows for 
the corset covers. Do you want them pinned or sewed? 

Sister Inez. Sewed, I say. 

Sister MARfA Jesus. Down the middle? 

Mistress of Novices. Of course, down the middle. 

Sister Maria Jesus. The reason I asked was because 
in the pattern they are all fastened down the side. 

Mistress of Novices. [Bending over to examine the 
fashion plates with Sister Inez and Sister Maria 
Jesus.] Yes. Don't you see? She is right. 

Sister Inez. That's funny! But they are pretty that 
way. 

Mistress of Novices. I say it's absurd. 

Sister MarIa Jesus. What do you think, Mother 
Crucifixion ? 

Vicaress. Don't ask me; I don't think. I neither 
understand nor wish to understand these things — pomp 



[ACT 11] THE CRADLE SONG 49 

and vanity, artifices of the devil, who, they tell me, is very 
well acquainted with the dressmakers of Paris, and takes 
part in their designs and encourages their abbreviations. 
Take it away, take that paper out of my sight, for it never 
should have entered this holy house! 

Sister Marcella. Jy, but we have to know the 
fashions. Mother! 

ViCARESS. The fashions! The fashions! Go to hell 
and you will find the fashions! Any other place would be 
too far behind. 

Sister Maria Jesus. But you don't want the child to 
be married, do you, in the dress of the year of the ark? 

ViCARESS. A pure heart and an upright spirit are what 
she should be married in, and if that is the case, no one is 
going to notice whether she has one bow more or less. 

Sister Marcella. They say men pay a great deal of 
attention to such things. Mother Crucifixion. 

Sister Maria Jesus. And we must render unto Caesar 
the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things 
which are God's. 

ViCARESS. So! We have philosophers, have we, in the 
house? 

Sister Inez. Hand me the scissors, if you will. I 
want to cut off these ends. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. I think now everything 
is ready to put in the trunk. 

Prioress. Yes, for the carriage will be waiting. 
[Teresa kneels on the floor beside the trunk. The Nuns 
hand her the various articles of the trousseau, which they 
remove from the benches and the table.] 

Sister Inez. Here are the chemises. 

Sister Marcella. And the lace petticoats. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Put them in the other 
tray, so they won't get wrinkled. 

Sister Inez. Lord of Mercy! What a tuck! — What 
bungler ran this tuck? 



50 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT 11] 

Mistress of Novices. You must not say anything 
against the sister who ran it, Sister; say it would look 
better if it were redampened and ironed. 

Teresa. But it looks splendidly; really it does! Give 
it to me! Here — let me have them. This is too ^nuch 
trouble for you to take. 

Prioress. Have you everything? 

Sister Marcella. The handkerchiefs? 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. The dressing-jackets? 

ViCARESS. Here is some edging that was left over, em- 
broidered by hand. You had better put it in the trunk in 
case of accident. 

Mistress of Novices. And the patterns — you might 
need them. 

Sister Inez. Here is a sachet, my child. It is filled 
with thyme and lavender and has lime peel in it. It will 
give a fresh scent to your clothes. 

Sister Marcella. She'll have real perfumes soon 
enough. 

Sister Maria Jesus. Yes, expensive ones. 

Sister Inez. They may be more expensive, but they 
won't be any better — I can tell you that; for these are 
plants that God has made, and they smell sweetly, and of a 
good conscience. I have them in all the presses in the 
sacristy, and it is a joy to smell them when you go up the 
steps to the altar. 

Teresa. I think we have everything. 

Prioress. Yes, everything. Now turn the key. Does 
it lock securely? [Teresa ffcts up.'\ And hang the key 
around your neck with the rosaries, for we have fastened 
it on a ribbon for you. Take care you don't lose it. The 
lock is an English one, and not every key will open it. 

Teresa. Yes, Mother. 

ViCARESS. It will be a miracle if she has it tomorrow. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. She will settle down 
soon under the responsibilities of a wife. 

Mistress of Novices. Well? Are you satisfied? 



[ACT 11] THE CRADLE SONG 51 

Teresa. Satisfied is too little, Mother. It does not 
express it. I don't deserve what you have done for me. 

ViCARESS. Yes, you do ; you deserve it. And you might 
as well tell the truth as a falsehood. You have a good 
heart; you are a sensible girl. When you said what you 
did, you were thinking of your clothes; but you need have 
no scruples. Everything that you take away with you 
from this house, and more too, you have earned by your 
labor. That is the truth and you know it. Maybe we 
have taught you here how to sew and embroider, but you have 
worked for us in the convent, and outside of it. You owe 
us nothing. Besides, you had two hundred and fifty pesetas 
from the doctor to buy the material. Here . . . [Pro- 
ducing a paper from under her scapular.] is the account of the 
way they have been spent, so you can see for yourself and 
answer for it, since delicacy will not permit that we should 
be asked how it was used. 

Teresa. [Embarrassed and confused.] What do you 
mean? Why, Mother Crucifixion! 

ViCARESS. That is all there is to it. You will find the 
account is correct. [Teresa fakes the paper and having 
folded it, puts it in her dress.] 

Prioress. [To the Nuns who have been working.] 
You may remove the table and gather up these things. 

Teresa. No, Mother — let me do it. I will pick up 
everything. [The Prioress makes a sign and all the Nuns 
rise and leave the room, except only herself, the ViCARESS;, 
the Mistress of Novices, and Sister Joanna of the 
Cross.] 

Prioress. [To Teresa.] What time do you go? 

Teresa. My father is coming for me at five, but . . . 
Antonio has asked me . . . before I go ... to say that 
he would like to see you all and thank you, and tell you 
how happy and grateful he is to you for the little girl you 
have brought up. 

Prioress. We shall be very glad to see him. 

ViCARESS. Glad or not glad, no matter; it is our obliga- 



52 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT II] 

tion. He cannot expect to carry her off like a thief in the 
night, and have no woman ask a question. 

Teresa. I will call you when he comes. [The Pri- 
oress^ the ViCARESs and the Mistress of Novices go 
out.] 

[Teresa and Sister Joanna of the Cross remain 
behind picking up and arranging the papers, patterns and 
scraps that have been left on the seats or about the 
floor. They say nothing but presently Teresa throws 
herself on her knees before the NuN.] 

Teresa. Sister Joanna of the Cross! 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. What do you want, 
my child? 

Teresa. Now that we are alone, bless me while there 
is no one here to see — no, not one — for you are my mother, 
more than all the rest ! 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Get up. [Teresa gets 
up.] Don't talk like that! We are all equal in- God's 
house. 

Teresa. But in my heart you are the first. You 
mustn't be angry at what I say. How can I help it? 
Is it my fault, though I have struggled against it all my 
life, that I have come to love you so? 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Yes, you have struggled. 
You have been wilful . . . [Then seeking at once to ex- 
cuse her.] But it was because you were strong and well. 
When a child is silent and keeps to herself in a corner, it is a 
wgn that she is sick or thinking of some evil. But you . . . 
• Teresa. Ay, Mother! Where do you suppose that I 
came from? 

^-.-Sister Joanna of the Cross. From Heaven, my 
daughter, as all of us have come. 

Teresa. Do you really think that we have all come 
from Heaven? 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. At least you have come 
from Heaven to me. You say that I am your mother 
more than the rest; I don't know — it may be. But I 



[ACT 11] THE CRADLE SONG 53 

know that for years you have been all my happiness and 
joy. 

Te^iesa. Mother! 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. I was so glad to hear 
you laugh and see you run about the cloisters! It was 
absurd, but I always felt — not now, for you are grown- 
up now — but for years I always felt as if you must be 
I, myself, scampering and playing. For I was just your 
age now, a little more or less, when you came into the 
Convent. And it seemed to me as if I was a child again 
and had just begun to live. You were so little, so busy — 
yes, you were — but I was busy too, if you only knew, before 
I entered here, at home in our house in the village. I 
was always singing and dancing, although we were very 
poor. My mother went out every day to wash in the river 
or to do housework — she had so many children! — and I 
was always carrying one about in my arms. And when 
I entered here, as I could do, thanks to some good ladies, 
who collected the money for my dowry — God reward them 
for it — although I had a real vocation, I was sorrowful 
and homesick thinking of my little brothers and sisters! 
Hlow- 1 used to cry in the dark corners, and I never dared 
to say a word! Then the Mother told me that if my 
melancholy didn't leave me she would be obliged to send 
me home. And then you came and I forgot everything! 
That is why I say you came to me from Heaven. And 
I don't want you to think I am angry, or ashamed — or that 
it has ever given me a moment's pain to have loved you. 

Teresa. Is that the reason that you scold me so? 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. When have I ever 
scolded you? 

Teresa. Oh, so many times! But no matter. I al- 
ways tell Antonio, Sister Joanna of the Cross is my mother. 
She is my mother, my real mother! So now he always 
calls you mother whenever he speaks of you. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. My daughter, will you 
be happy with him? 



54 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT II] 

Teresa. Of course ! I am sure I will. He is so good, 
he is so happy! He says he doesn't know where it is all 
his happiness comes from, because his father, who is dead 
now, was more mournful than a willow, and his mother, 
poor lady, whenever anything happened to her that was 
good, burst right out crying. How do you suppose it was 
she ever managed to have such a boy? It must be that 
sad mothers have happy children. How does it seem to 
you? 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. How do I know? 

Teresa. It must be that way. The first boy I have 
is going to be — ^what is the solemnest thing in the world? 
No, the first is going to be an architect, like his father; but 
the second can be a missionary, and go to China if he wants 
to, and convert the heathen. Just think what it would be 
to have a son who was a saint! I shouldn't have to be so 
humble in heaven, then, should I? I should have influ- 
ence. And here you are all the time. Sister Joanna of the 
Cross, praying for me and preparing miracles. So you see 
I have a good start already. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. How you do love to 
talk! 

Teresa. Isn't it foolish, Mother? Don't I? Listen! 
When you were little didn't you ever want to be a boy? 
I did. I used to cry because I thought then that I could 
have been anything I wanted to be — this, that, I didn't 
care what it was — Captain-General, Archbishop, yes, Pope, 
even! Or something else. It used to make me mad to 
think that because I was a girl I couldn't even be an 
acolyte. But now, since — well, since I love Antonio, and 
he loves me, I don't care; it doesn't make any difference 
any more, because if I am poor and know nothing, he is 
wise and strong; and if I am foolish and of no account, 
he is, oh, of so much worth ! And if I have to stay behind at 
home and hide myself in the comer, he can gcr out into 
the world and mount, oh, so high — wherever a man can 
go — and instead of making me envious, it makes me so 



[ACT II] THE CRADLE SONG 55 

happy! Ah, Sister Joanna of the Cross, when she truly 
loves a man, how humble it makes a girl ! 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Do you really love him 
so? 

Teresa. More than life itself! And that is all too 
little. Maybe it's a sin, but I can tell you. Do you be- 
lieve that we . will meet in Heaven the persons we have 
loved on earth? Because if I don't meet him there and I 
can't go on loving him always just the same as I do now, 
no, more than I do now ... 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. [Interrupting.l 
Hush! Peace! You mustn't say such things. It is a 
sin. 

Teresa. Ay, sister Joanna of the Cross! How sweet 
it is to be in love! 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. But he . . . he . . . 
Does he love you too, so much? 

Teresa. Yes, he loves me. How much, I don't know; 
but it doesn't make any matter. What makes me happy 
is that I love him. You needn't think that sometimes — 
very seldom though — I haven't been afraid that perhaps 
some day he might stop loving me. It used to make me 
sad. But if I had ever thought that some day I could 
stop loving him . . . No, it would be better to die first; 
for then, what would be the good of life? 

Sister Joanna of the Crossi Ah, my child! To 
continue in God's love! 

Teresa. Do you know how I would like to spend my 
life? All of it? Sitting on the ground at his feet, look- 
ing up into his eyes, just listening to him talk. You don't 
know how he can talk. He knows everything — everything 
that there is to know in the world, and he tells you such 
things! The things that you always have known yourself, 
in your heart, and you couldn't find out how to say them. 
Even when he doesn't say anything, if he should be speak- 
ing some language which you didn't understand, it is won- 
derful ... his voice ... I don't know how to explain 



56 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT i/] 

it, but it is his voice — a voice that seems as if it had been 
talking to you ever since the day you were born! You 
don't hear it only with your ears, but with your whole 
body. It's like the air which you see and breathe and 
taste, and which smells so sweetly in the garden beneath 
the tree of paradise. Ah, Mother! The first day that 
he said to me "Teresa" — you see what a simple thing it 
was, my name, Teresa — why, it seemed to me as if nobody 
ever had called me by my name before, as if I never had heard 
it, and when he went away, I ran up and down the street 
saying to myself "Teresa, Teresa, Teresa!" under my breath, 
without knowing what I was doing, as if I walked on air! 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. You frighten me, my 
child. 

Teresa. Do I? Why? 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Because you love him 
so. For earthly love ... I mean ... it seems to me it 
is like a flower, that we find by the side of the road — 
a little brightness that God grants us to help us pass 
through life, for we are weak and frail; a drop of honey 
spread upon our bread each day, which we should receive 
gladly, but with trembling, and keeping our hearts whole, 
daughter, for it will surely pass away. 

Teresa. It cannot pass away! 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. It may; and then what 
will be left to your soul, if you have set your all on this 
delight, and it has passed away? 

Teresa. [Humbly.'\ You mustn't be angry with me, 
Mother. No! Look at me! It isn't wrong, I know. 
Loving him, I ... he is so good, he is so good . . . and 
good, it cannot pass away! 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Is he a good Christian? 

Teresa. He is good. Sister. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. But does he fear God? 

Teresa. One day he said to me: "I love you because 
you know how to pray." Don't you see? And another 
time: "I feel a devotion toward you as toward some holy 



[ACT II] THE CRADLE SONG 57 

thing." He ! Devotion ! To me ! And whenever I think 
of that, it seems to me as if I was just growing better, as 
if all at once I was capable of everything there was to do 
or suffer in the world — so as to have him always feel that 
way ! 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. I hear some one in the 
parlor. Draw the curtains. 

[Teresa^ pulling the cord, draws the curtains over 
the windows, shutting off the light. The fore part of 
ihe stage remains in shadow, but the outer parlor is 
brightly illuminated. Antonio has entered and may 
be seen through the crack where the curtains join. 
He is twenty-five years of age, well-built, manly and 
sensitive of feature. He remains alone and his foot- 
steps may be heard on the boards as he paces nervously 
up and down.] 
Teresa. [In a low Voice, going up to the Nun.] 
Yes. It is he. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. [Seizing her hand.] 
Ah! How tall he is! 

Teresa. Yes, he is tall. Doesn't he look splendidly 
though ? 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Yes, he does. Has he 
golden hair? 

Teresa. No, it's the light; his hair is dark brown, and 
his eyes are between violet and blue. It's too bad you 
can't see them. They are so beautiful! When he talks, 
they sparkle. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. How old is he? 
Teresa. Just twenty-five. 

[Antonio crosses from one side to the other, and 
continues to pace back and forth.] 
Sister Joanna of the Cross. He seems to be of a 
very active disposition. 

Teresa. That is because he is impatient. Shall I speak 
to him and tell him you are here? 
Sister Joanna of the Cross. [Falling back.] No! 



58 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT II] 

Teresa. Why not? He loves you dearly. [In a low 
voice, going up to the grille.] Good afternoon, Antonio. 

Antonio. [Looking about from one side to the other.] 
Teresa? Where are you? 

Teresa. [Laughing.] Here, boy, here; behind the 
grille. It is easy to see you are not accustomed to calling 
on nuns. 

Antonio. Can't you run back the curtain? 

Teresa. No, because I am not alone. Can't you guess 
who is with me? My mother. 

Antonio. Sister Joanna of the Cross? 

Teresa. [To the Nun^ delighted because he has guessed 
it.] There! Do you see? [To Antonio.] Sister 
Joanna of the Cross — exactly. We have been watching you 
through the grille, and she says that she thinks you are 
a very handsome young man. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. Goodness gracious! 
You mustn't pay any attention to what she says. 

Teresa. Don't be angry, Mother. I think so myself. 

Antonio. You never told me that before. 

Teresa. That is because in here, where you can't see 
me, I'm not so embarrassed to tell you. Listen ! We have 
to send in word now that you are here; but I want you tc) 
tell my mother something first, for if you stand there like 
a blockhead without opening your mouth, I am going to be 
very much ashamed, after all the time I have spent in 
singing your praises. 

Antonio. What do you want me to tell her? 

Teresa. What you have in your heart. 

Antonio. But I don't know whether it is proper to 
tell it to a religious, although it is in my heart, for I love 
her dearly. 

Teresa. Ah! I tell her that a million times a day. 

Antonio. Then let us tell her together two million; 
because I must say to you. Madam, that it is impossible 
^to know Teresa and not to love you. 

Teresa. What a treasure is this mother of mine! 



[JCT II] THE CRADLE SONG 59 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. For shame, my child! 
{Blushing, to Antonio.] I also have a great affection for 
you, sir, for this child has been teaching me to Ipve you. 
She is a little blind perhaps, and trusting, for that is nat- 
ural. She knows nothing of the world, and we — how 
were we to teach her ? And now you are going to take her 
far away; but don't take her heart away from us, sir, and 
break ours, when we let her hand go. 

Antonio. Madam, I swear to you now that I shall 
always kneel in reverence before the tenderness and virtue 
which you have planted in her soul. 

Teresa. I told you that he was very good. Mother. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. May God make you 
both very happy. And may God remain with you, for 
his handmaid must go now and seek the Mother. 

Antonio. But you are coming back? 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. With the sisters . . . 
Yes, I think so. Good-bye. I have been so happy to know 
you. 

[Sister Joanna of the Cross goes out, greatly 
moved. Teresa remains standing by the grille until 
the Nun has disappeared, without speaking a word.] 

Antonio. Now you can draw back the curtain. 

Teresa. Yes, a little. [She runs back the curtain a 
little way.] But it won't do you any good, because you 
won't be able to see me. Do you really like my mother? 
Do you really? Why are you so silent? What are you 
thinking about? 

Antonio. I don't know; It is very strange. Since I 
have come into this room, since I have heard your mother 
speak, and have heard you, behind this grille, without 
knowing for certain where you were in the dark, I have 
been almost afraid to love you. But ah — how I do love 



you 



Teresa. I like that better. 
Antonio. Teresa ! 
Teresa. What is it? 



6o THE CRADLE SONG [ACT II] 

Antonio. Will you never forget, will you carry with 
you always wherever you go, this peace and this calm? 

Teresa. With you, Antonio? 

Antonio. Yes, into the world, beyond these walls; for 
in the world we make so much useless noise. And you — I 
see it now — you are the mistress of peace and of calm. 

Teresa. [Lauffhinff.} I the mistress of calm? As if 
I hadn't been a little flyaway all my life, without an idea 
in my head! Mother Crucifixion says that since I was 
passed in on the wheel there hasn't been one moment in 
this house of what the rules call "profound calm." I 
know I don't talk much when I am with you — we have 
been together such a little while, and it has been all too 
short to listen to you; but you will see when I grow 
bolder and am not afraid. You will have to put cotton in 
your ears then. Ah, Antonio! Only think, we are going 
to have all our lives to be together and listen to each other 
talk and tell each other things — that is, all our lives for 
you to tell me things, because I . . . you will find out soon 
enough. Tell me really, truly, Antonio: aren't you going 
to be awfully ashamed to have such an ignorant wife? 

Antonio. Ignorant or learned? 

Teresa. I? Learned? In what? 

Antonio. In a science which I did not know, and 
which you have taught to me. 

Teresa. You are joking. 

Antonio. I am in earnest. Until I met you, I knew 
nothing; I did not even know myself. 

Teresa. Pshaw! 

Antonio. You mustn't laugh. Did it ever seem to 
you, Teresa, that our soul was like a palace? 

Teresa. Of course it is! It is like a castle. Santa 
Teresa says so: The soul is like a castle — the interior 
of a castle, all made of one diamond above and below. 
And it has seven courts, and in the last is stored a great 
treasure . . . 

Antonio. Then in the innermost chamber of my soul 



[ACT II] THE CRADLE SONG 6i 

was stored the love I have for you, and if you had not 
come and opened the door yourself, and helped me to find it, 
I should have passed all my life in ignorance, without 
knowing anything was there. 

Teresa. Don't repeat such heresies! 

Antonio. Is it a heresy — the love I bear for you? 
No, it is a religion — the only one for me! My girl! 
Seven courts, you say? Then with a great effort I had 
passed into the first and I was running here and there 
aimlessly, and you don't know what horrible things I found 
— everywhere I stumbled on. They were my own traits. 
I was cold, selfish, proud, without trust or faith, without 
other ambitions than material desires — to pass through life 
easily and well, to be the first in my own petty world, in- 
capable of sacrifice, of abnegation, of compassion, of dis- 
interested love. 

Teresa. No! No! You were no such thing. 

Antonio. But I lived as if I were! What difference 
did it make? But then one day I heard your voice, and 
summoned by you, I again searched through the castle, and 
in the other courts I began to find — ah! under how 
many cobwebs, all covered-up with dust — humility and de- 
votion, warmth of heart, pity and faith in so many holy 
things. And then I found my honor, self-respect and 
sympathy with my fellow man, in which we live, Teresa, 
for without it nothing else is life, and I began to be a man 
when I first loved you. For in these things you are the 
master, and I have learned them all from you! 

Teresa, Hush ! They are coming. 

[Teresa falls back from the grille, after first drawing 
the curtains again. The Nuns in single file enter silently, 
the youngest first, followed at last by the Mistress of 
Novices, the Vicaress and the Prioress. The Prioress 
seats herself in the arm-chair at the left of the grille; the 
Vicaress and the Mistress of Novices in two other 
chairs at the right. The remaining Nuns stand or are 
seated round about. Teresa supports herself with her hand 



62 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT II} 

on the back of the Prioress's chair. Sister Joanna of 
THE Cross approaches her and takes her by the other hand. 
There is absolute silence as the Nuns enter and find their 
places. They look at each other unth expectant attention^ 
and some nod and smile among themselves. When they 
are seated, there follows an interval of further silence.^ 

Prioress. Ave Maria Purissima! [Antonio^ some- 
what embarrassed, and endeavoring vainly to penetrate the 
darkness behind the grille, does not answer. The Prioress, 
after waiting a moment, turns her head and smiles indul- 
gently at the community.^ Good afternoon, young man. 

Antonio. Good afternoon, Madam — or Madams — for 
behind the mystery of this screen, it is impossible for me 
to see whether I am speaking with one or with many. 
[The Nuns smile quietly and discreetly. "^ 

Prioress. [In a low voice.'\ Run back the curtain. 
Sister Inez. [The Sister runs back the curtain.^ You 
aie speaking with the entire community, which takes great 
pleasure in knowing you. 

Antonio. Ladies, the pleasure and the honor are mine, 
and they are much greater than you will be ready to 
imagine. 

Sister Inez. Bless us! But isn't he a polite and 
polished talker? 

Sister Tornera. Keep still! I want to hear what 
he has to say. 

Antonio. For a long time I have desired greatly to 
visit you. Teresa knows it, and she must have told it 
to you. 

Prioress. That is true. She has indeed. And we 
have greatly appreciated your desire. 

Antonio. But the first time I was in this place it was 
Advent and the second it was Lent; and both times Teresa 
informed me that it was impossible for me to see you. 

ViCARESS. Clearly. In seasons of penitence we receive 
no visitors. 

Antonio. But now it is May and past Easter time. 



IJCT II] THE CRADLE SONG 63 

Mistress of Novices. How well acquainted he is with 
the calendar! Surely you must be very devout, sir. 

Antonio. I am, Madam — very; but chiefly in the wor- 
ship of certain saints who as yet are not on the altars. 

Sister Inez. What a nice compliment! Saints, did 
he say? [^Laughing.] He is a polished talker. 

Antonio. Ladies, after a hundred years they will be 
lighting candles to you, and invoking you in prayers, and 
in gratitude they will be bringing you thank offerings of 
crutches and wooden legs. 

Sister Tornera. [Laughing.] Does he think we are 
going to be the patrons of rheumatism? 

Mistress of Novices. After a hundred years? You 
are giving us a century of Purgatory. 

Antonio. No, Madam, by all that is holy! I am 
giving you a century of life, and entrance thereafter directly 
into the choir of seraphim. 

Prioress. I fear you speak frivolously, Seiior Don 
Antonio. 

Antonio. Madam, I was never more earnest in my life. 
Whenever I think of death, you have no idea of the peace 
which enters my soul. I remember how many saintly white 
hands will be stretched down to me to help me into Paradise 
— for I suppose that you will be able to exercise a little in- 
fluence on behalf of one of the family. 

Sister Sagrario. [Laughing.] One of the family? 

ViCAREsa. Certainly. We are all Grod's children. 

Antonio. But I shall be so in a double sense; first, 
in my own birthright, and then as your son-in-law, who are 
his brides. 

ViCARESS. Ah ! It is not meet to jest about holy things. 

Antonio. Madam, you are right. And you will par- 
don me all the inconsequences which I have said, for I 
swear to you that they have been nothing but nervousness 
and fear. 

Mistress of Novices. You are not afraid of us? 

Antonio. I am. Madam, very — because of the respect 



64 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT //] 

and admiration in which I hold you all. I came here more 
disturbed than I ever have been before in my whole life. 
I do not know whether I should thank you, or whether 
I should beg your pardon. 

Prioress. Beg our pardon? 

Antonio. Yes, because I fear that I am not worthy 
of the treasure which you are entrusting to me. 

Prioress. We know already through the doctor that 
you are an honorable young man. 

Mistress of Novices. And the love which our daughter 
bears you is our guarantee. Surely the Lord would not 
permit His child, brought up in His fear, to throw herself 
away upon an evil man. 

Antonio. I am not evil, no ; but I am a man, and you, 
ladies, with all the great piety of your souls, have been 
nurturing a flower for the skies. When I first knew her, 
my heart whispered to me that I had met a saint. She 
was a miracle. When I first dared to speak to her, there 
came over me a fear and a trembling that were out of the 
course of nature; and when I told her that I loved her, my 
heart stopped, and bade me to fall on my knees, and now 
that I have come here to beg my happiness of you, I don't 
know what I can promise you in token of my gratitude, nor 
how I can give you thanks enough for the great honor which 
you do me. 

ViCARESS. It may be you are speaking more truly than 
you think, Senor Don Antonio. 

Mistress of Novices. Why, Mother ! 
ViCARESS. No, let me speak. For he has said well. 
The girl is not one of those worldly creatures who take 
to their husbands a great store of physical beauty. That 
is certain. You cannot call her ugly, but it is the most that 
can be said. Nor does she bring with her any dower. 
She is poorer than the poor. But she carries in her heart 
a treasure, the only one which we have been able to give 
her, which is more priceless than silver or gold, and that is 
the fear of God. For this, sir, you must be answerable to 



[ACT //] THE CRADLE SONG 65 

us, and we ask yau your word now, that you will always 
respect it in her and in her children, if you should have any, 
if it should be God's holy will. 

Antonio. Teresa shall always be the absolute mistress 
of her conscience and of my house, and my children shall 
ever be that which she desires. I pledge my word. 

Prioress. You will never have reason to regret it, for 
she is a good and prudent girl. 

ViCARESS. And not hypocritical, for, although, as you 
have said, we have nurtured her for the skies, we have never 
permitted ourselves to believe that she was to reach them 
through the cloister. 

Sister Maria Jesus. Do you mean to take her very 
far away? 

Antonio. Yes, Madam. That is to say, there is no 
longer in the world either far or near. We sail next week. 
I am going to America as the resident director of a firm of 
architects. 

Prioress. Yes, we know already. 

Antonio. That is the reason for this haste. I do not 
wish to go alone. 

Sister Tornera. Aren't you afraid the child will be 
seasick ? They say you do get a terrible shaking-up upon the 
sea. 

Sister MARfA Jesus, You must promise us to take good 
care of her. 

Sister Inez. If she gets overheated never let her drink 
cold water. She is very pig-headed about that. 

Sister Marcella. But you mustn't forget that she is 
accustomed to cold baths. 

Sister Inez. If she takes cold or gets a cough, make 
her drink a glass of hot milk with a teaspoonful of hot 
rum in it, with plenty of sugar, for that's the only thing that 
will make her sweat. 

Teresa. I think perhaps I had better attend to these 
matters myself. Sister. 

Sister Inez. Yes, you'd be a pretty one to attend to 



66 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT 11] 

them ! Don't you mind what she says, Senor Don Antonio, 
for she is spoiled utterly. If you don't give her medicines 
and force the spoon down her throat, she might be dying 
for all you'd know, but she'd never ask for them herself. 

PkiORESS. We had better not confuse him with too 
many recommendations. Surely he knows the more im- 
portant precautions already. 

Antonio. [Smilinff.l Perhaps it would be better if you 
wrote them out for me on a piece of paper. 

Sister Tornera. A good idea! [Laughing.] If we 
began where does he think we'd leave oif? 

Sister Sagrario. How many days will you be on the 
ship? 

Antonio. Two weeks. 

Sister Marcella. Mercy! What an age! Suppose 
there should be a storm? 

Mistress of Novices. It will be at least two weeks 
more before we can get letters back. 

Antonio. We will telegraph when we arrive and we 
will send you a message from the middle of the ocean, so 
that you will hear from us the same day. 

Sister Inez. Mother of God! Can they send mes- 
sages now from the middle of the ocean? How do the 
words come? 

Teresa. Flying through the air, like birds. 

Sister Inez. What will men invent next? When yout 
handmaid was in the world, they came by a wire, and yet 
it seemed the work of the devil. 

Antonio. I should not advise you, Madam, to believe 
that the devil is ever very far away from these inventions. 

Sister Inez. Whether he is or not, when the telegram 
comes it will be safest to sprinkle it with holy water. 

Prioress. Ah, Sister Inez, you are so simple! Ddh't 
you see that the young man is only joking? 

ViCARESS. It is five o'clock — the hour we were to ex- 
pect your father. 

Antonio. I do not wish to molest you further. 



[ACT //] THE CRADLE SONG 67 

Prioress. You do not molest us, but we must close 
the parlor at five. 

Antonio. You will pardon me if I commit a terrible 
breach of etiquette, but I should like to ask you one favor 
before I go. 

Prioress. If it is in our power to grant . . . 

Antonio. Although, as it seems, you have run back a 
curtain, yet the mystery of this screen still remains a mystery 
to me, a poor sinner, inscrutable as before; and I should 
be sorry to go away without having seen you face to face. 
Is it too much to ask? 

Prioress. For us this is a day of giving. Draw back 
the curtains, Teresa. [Teresa draws back the curtain from 
one window, a NuN that from the other, lighting up the 
room.^ 

Antonio. [Bowing.'\ Ladies! . . . 

ViCARESS. Well? How does the vision appear to you? 

Antonio. I shall never forget iv as long as I live. 

Prioress. Then may God go with you, and may you 
live a thousand years. [Taking Teresa by the hand.} 
Here is her hand. See, we give her to you with a great 
love, and may you make her happy. 

Antonio. I answer for her happiness with my life. 

Prioress. And may God go with you. 

Mistress of Novices. Teresa will give you from us 
two scapularies, the remembrances of a nun. They are 
not worth anything, but they have lain beside the reliquary 
of our father, the blessed Saint Dominic. Keep them in 
memory of this day. 

Antonio. I shall treasure them, ladies, from this hour. 
And I pray you, remember me always in your prayers. 

ViCARESS. And upon your part do not forget to pray 
with them from time to time, for although it lies within 
the province of everyone to help our souls along the way 
to heaven, yet we must take the first steps ourselves. And 
may God go with you. 

All. God go with you. 



68 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT II] 

Antonio. Ladies! . . . [He retires and disappears. 
A Nun draws the curtain over the grille. Then a mo- 
ment's silence. Some of the Nuns sigh and say:] 

Nuns. Ah, Lord! Good Lord! May it be God's 
holy will! [The bell by the door rings twice.] 

ViCARESS. I thought so — your father. 

[Teresa stands in the midst of the group of NuNS, 
bewildered, looking from one to the other, greatly 
moved. Sister Tornera goes to open the door.] 

Prioress. Ask him to come in. 

[The Doctor enters on the arm of Sister Tornera. 
He is now very old, but neither decrepit nor cast down.] 

Doctor. Good afternoon, ladies; good afternoon, 
daughter. 

Teresa. [Kissing his hand.] Good afternoon, father. 

Doctor. The whole assembly — the parting, eh? Well, 
did you see the young man? [The Nuns do not answer.] 
A fine fellow, isn't he? He is waiting outside. We have 
an hour in the coach before we arrive at the station, so 
you had better get ready now, daughter. [Teresa goes 
out with Sister Joanna of the Cross.] Ah! The 
trunk? Good! Carry i-t to the doo'r. The boys outside 
will take care of it. [Two Nuns //// the trunk and carry 
it out by the door on the right.] There, that is done. 
[He seats himself in the Prioress's chair.] Well, how are 
we to-day? 

Prioress. You see, Doctor. 

Mistress of Novices. Who would ever have believed 
it eighteen years ago? 

Doctor. Eighteen years? We are growing old. Mother. 
We are growing old. 

Prioress. That is not the worst of it. 

Sister Inez, How old are you now, Doctor? 

Doctor. Seventy-eight, Sister. 

Sister Inez. No one would ever think it. 

Doctor. [Attempting a witticism so as to cheer up the 
Nuns.] That is because I am preserved in sanctity, like 



[ACT 77] THE CRADLE SONG 69 

a fly in thick syrup. [But none of the NuNS laugh.^ 
A little mournful to-day, eh? 

Sister Marcella. What else did you expect? 

Sister Sagrario. She is not even going to be married 
in our chapel. 

DbCTOR. No, his mother is old and sick, and naturally 
she wants him to be with her, so they must be married 
in her house. 

Prioress. Naturally. Poor woman! [A pause.l 

Mistress of NaviCES. She is going so far away! 

Doctor. But she will come back, Mother. She will 
come back. 

Prioress. She knows nothing of the world. 

Doctor. There is no cause to be alarmed. He is an 
honorable man. 

ViCARESS. Yes, he seems to be one. [Teresa and 
Sister Joanna of the Cross re-enter. It is plain that they 
have both been crying. Teresa^ wearing a mantilla, and 
with her coat on, carries a shawl over her arm for use as a 
wrap on the voyage. She stops in the middle of the room 
and stands still, not daring to say good-bye.^ 

Doctor. Well? Are w"e ready now? 

Teresa. Yes . . . Now . . . 

Doctor. Then say good-bye. It is late. We must be 
going, daughter. 

Prioress. Yes, you must not delay. 

Teresa. [Throwing herself on her knees before the 
Prioress and kissing her scapular.] Mother! 

PrioresSi. Rise, my daughter, rise. 

Teresa. Bless me, Mother! Bless me! 

Prioress. May God bless you ; so. Rise. [As Teresa 
rises, the NuN embraces her.] 

Teresa. Mother! I don't know what to say to you 
... I don't know how to leave you . . . but you must 
forgive me all the wrong I have ever done in all these 
years. I have been foolish, wilful. I have made so much 
trouble for you all. You must forgive me. I would like 



70 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT II] 

to do something great, something splendid for you all. 
But — but may God reward you! May Grod reward you! 
God reward you! [She bursts into tears.] 

Prioress. My daughter, come! You must not cry. 
You must not allow yourself to be afflicted so. 

Teresa. I am not afflicted, Mother; but . . . it's . . . 
Mother, I can never forget you! You must pray for me, 
pray for me! And you must never forget me! 

Prioress. Ah, no, my child! Never! We will pray 
God to help you, and to be with you, and you must pray 
to Him for guidance and for counsel always, whenever 
you are troubled or perplexed in anything. For the lib- 
erty which they enjoy in the world is like a swOrd in the 
hands of a child, and life at best is hard, and bitter often- 
times. 

Mistress of Novices. Be thankful that your heart is 
well steeled to resist all the temptations that may come. 
Is it not, my daughter? 

Teresa. It is, Mother. 

Prioress. Will you promise always to be reverent and 
good? 

Teresa. Yes! Yes, Mother! 

Vicaress. Remember that your obligation is greater 
than that of others, because you have come forth from 
God's own house. 

Teresa. Yes! Yes, Mother! 

PrioresSu Remember all the blessings He has showered 
upon you from the cradle; remember that your whole life 
has been as a miracle, that you have lived here as few have 
ever lived, that you have been brought up as few have ever 
bgpn brought up, like the Holy Virgin herself, in the very 
temple of the Lord. 

Mistress of Novices. As He was to the Evangelist, 
so God has been to you a father and a mother, more than 
to any other living thing. 

Prioress. Remember that you are the rose of His 
garden and the grain of incense upon His altar. 



[ACT 11] THE CRADLE SONG 71 

Teresa. Yes! Mother, yes! I will! ... I will re- 
member all ... all ... all .. . 

Mistress of Novices. And do not forget each day to 
make an examination of your soul. 

Teresa. No, Mother. 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. And write often. 

Teresa. Yes, Mother. 

Doctor. It is time to go, Teresa. 

Teresa. [Throwing herself suddenly into his arms.] 
Oh, father! Promise me never to leave them! Never 
abandon them! 

Doctor. Child of my heart! Ah, may they never 
abandon me! — for this is my house. For more than forty 
years I have been coming here day by day, hour by hour, 
and now there is nobody within these walls who is older 
than I. I have no children. I have had my loves — yes, 
a moment's flame — but it was so long ago! I have for- 
gotten them. And these Sisters, who have been mothers 
to you, have been daughters to me; and now, when I 
come, they no longer even cover their faces before me. Why 
should they? It seems to me as if I had seen them born. 
And in this house [Greatly moved.] I should like to die, so 
that they might close my eyes, and say a prayer for me 
when life itself has closed! 

Mistress of Novices. Who is thinking of dying. 
Doctor? 

Prioress. It is time to go. 

Teresa. [^Looking from one to the other.] Aren't 
you going to embrace me? [The Nuns^ after hesi- 
tating and glancing a moment doubtfully at the Mother 
Prioress^ embrace Teresa in turn, in perfect silence. 
Only Sister Joanna of the Cross, taking her into her 
arms J says:] 

Sister Joanna of the Cross. My child! 

Prioress. May you find what you seek in the world, 
daughter, for so we hope and so we pray to God. But 
if it should not be so, remember, this is your Convent. 



72 THE CRADLE SONG [ACT II] 

Teresa. Thanks . . . thanks . . . [Sobbinff.'] 
Doctor. Come, daughter, come . . . \_The Doctor and 
Teresa ffo to the door, but Teresa turns when she reaches 
the threshold and embraces Sister Joanna of the Cross, 
passionately. Then she disappears. Sister Joanna op 
the Cross rests her head against the grille, her back to 
the others, and weeps silently. A pause. The bells of 
the coach are heard outside as it drives away.] 

Mistress of Novices. They are going now. {The 
chapel bell rings summoning the Nuns to choir.] 
Prioress. The summons to the choir. 
Mistress of Novices. Come, Sisters! Let us go 
there. 

[All make ready to go out sadly. The Vicaress^ 
sensing the situation, to h^r mind demoralizing, feils 
it to be hef duty to provide a remedy. She, too, is greatly 
moved, but making a supreme effort to control her- 
self, says in a voice which she in vain endeavors to 
make appear calm, but which is choked in utterance 
by tears'.] 
ViCARESS. One moment. I have observed of late . . . 
that some ... in the prayer . . . have not been marking 
sufficiently the pauses in the middle of the lines, while on 
the other hand, they drag out the last words interminably. 
Be careful of this, for your Reverences know that the 
beauty of the office lies in rightly marking the pauses, and 
in avoiding undue emphasis on the end of the phrase. Let 
us go there, [The Nuns file out slowly. Sister Joanna 
of the Cross^ unnoticed, remains alone. With a cry, she 
falls upon her knees beside an empty chair.] 

Curtain 



THE LOVER 

COMEDY IN ONE ACT 

TEATRO DE LA COMEDIA, MADRID 
1913 

ARTS LEAGUE OF SERVICE, MANCHESTER 
1924 

FORTUNE THEATRE, LONDON 
1926 



CHARACTERS 

The Queen. 

The Lover. 

The Lady in WAiTiNa 



THE LOVER 

Salon in a Royal Palace. Although of extreme richness, 
the furnishings preserve an atmosphere of simplicity. 

The stage is empty when the curtain rises. Loud shouts 
and cries are heard outside, as if an accident were taking 
place. Then various noises follow, clamor and confusion. 
After a moment The Queen enters, followed by The Lady 
IN Waiting. 

The Queen is a beautiful woman, gowned in faultless 
taste. She is about forty years of age. Her hair is very 
dark, except for a solitary white lock which appears al- 
most directly above the middle of her forehead; but this 
she does not attempt to conceal by any artifice. She enters 
in full regalia, as if attired for some court ceremony. From 
her shoulders hangs the royal mantle. 

The Lady in Waiting is about sixty years of age, rather 
nobly plain. She also is in full court dress. 

The Queen. [As she leaves The Lady in Waiting, 
who attempts to support her.^ No, let me be, I am not 
hurt. ... It is nothing. 

Lady in Waiting. Has Your Majesty suffered no in- 
jury? 

The Queen. None, I assure you. 

Lady in Waiting. But the shock, the fright — be 
seated. Your Majesty. [She assists her to remove the 
Court Mantle.] Your Majesty must rest. At least drink 
a glass of water. 

The Queen. [Seating herself in an arm-chair.] You 
may bring the water, but I will have nothing in it. Let it 
be pure as God made it. 

[The Lady in Waiting brings the water from a 
table which stands near by^ 
77 



78 THE LOVER 

Lady in Waiting. But, Your Majesty, it is cold; 
Your Majesty is overheated — 

The Queen. Give me the glass. [She takes it from 
the Lady in Waiting.] You are trembling all over. 

Lady in Waiting. Ah, Your Majesty, you have no 
idea how frightened I vs^as, how frightened we all were, 
when the horses reared in the traces! Your Majesty can 
imagine . . . the overturn, the coach shattered into pieces. 
Your Majesty thrown upon the ground! 

The Queen. [Smiling.li Fortunately there was some- 
body waiting to receive me. How fortunate that that man 
[Lauffhinff.J — my knight-errant — was so near! 

Lady in Waiting. [Displeased.] Certainly, Your 
Majesty. 

The Queen. [Lookiriff at her for a moment, then 
laughing.] We shall have to award him the Grand Cross. 
Are you frowning? 

Lady IN Waiting. Your Majesty! 

The Queen. But what is the matter? What is on 
your mind? 

Lady in Waiting. Your Majesty, that man was un- 
mannerly and impertinent. Your Majesty will not be dis- 
pleased, but his deportment was horribly incorrect. To 
catch Your Majesty in his arms without permission! 

The Queen. Yes, if he had allowed me to break my 
neck, his conduct would have been more correct. In that 
case he would not have committed a breach of etiquette. 
No, indeed! It is not every day that a woman, even if she 
is a queen, is in peril of her life, and has the experience 
of being saved from death in a gallant's arms. 

Lady in Waiting. Your Majesty amuses herself. 

The Queen. Perhaps I do, but not unkindly. Poor 
fellow ! However, you may malign him as much as you like. 

Lady in Waiting. Your Majesty, I do not malign 
him when I suggest that it is incorrect and impertinent for 
this person to follow Your Majesty wherever you go. 

The Queen. [Laughing.] Like my shadow! 



THE LOVER 79 

Lady in Waiting. Like a rude, ill-bred fellow who is 
ignorant of decency and of the requirements of etiquette. 
Your Majesty never leaves the Palace but that he is stand- 
ing on the pavement opposite. You cannot go to church, 
or to the theatre, or visit the parks, or attend any public 
ceremony but that he is there in the front row, yes, or 
nearer than the front row, as he was to-day. 

The Queen. Fortunately for me. 

Lady in Waiting. Your Majesty, loyal vassals were 
not wanting to fly to Your Majesty's assistance. 

The Queen. [Gently.'] Yes, so I saw when the 
horses reared. Half a dozen dukes began to run, but 
what with etiquette which kept them at a safe distance and 
rheumatism which would not permit them to run, my royal 
person was in grave danger. \_Laughing.'] Indeed, if it 
had not been for him — 

Lady in Waiting. Skulking in a bramble bush, like 
a lover in comic opera! 

The Queen. Love is no respecter of hiding places. 
It is foolish to laugh at hidden lovers, even in comic opera. 
Besides, what you say was a bramble bush appeared to me 
to be a laurel, and men take as naturally to laurels now- 
adays as they did in the time of Petrarch. Some of the 
leaves have even clung to my robe. [Picking off two or 
three.] Almost enough to weave a crown for my lover. 

Lady in Waiting. Your Majesty surely does not imply 
that that man is in love? 

The Queen. Why not? Don't you think so? 

Lady in Waiting. He is utterly deficient, lacking. 
How do we know ? Perhaps he may be . . . 

The Queen. An anarchist? But how stupid ! In the 
twenty years he has followed me, he never yet has found 
an opportunity . . . 

Lady in Waiting. [Horrified.'] Your Majesty! 

The Queen. [Laughing.] Of showing disrespect. 

Lady in Waiting. Does Your Majesty consider that 
this extraordinary persecution shows no disrespect? 



8o THE LOVER 

The Queen. But what has become of him? Where 
is he? 

Lady in Waiting. He has been detained. 

The Queen. Where? For what reason? 

Lady in Waiting. For having introduced himself 
without permission into the Palace Gardens. 

The Queen. To save the life of his Queen! The 
end justifies the means. 

Lady in Waiting, Your Majesty, he could scarcely 
have been advised beforehand that Your Majesty's coach 
was to be overturned, and at that particular spot in the 
Palace Gardens. 

The Queen. Then you do not believe in presentiments? 

Lady in Waiting. Your Majesty, I am too old for 
such things. 

The Queen. [With a note of melancholy in her voice.^ 
So am I — for such things. 

Lady in Waiting. Your Majesty! 

The Queen. No, we both know how old I am, and 
so does the world. Decreeing her age is not one of the 
prerogatives of a queen. [Taking up a hand-glass, she 
gazes into it attentively.^ Horrible, is it not? 

Lady in Waiting. Your Majesty is marvellously 
young. 

The Queen. Even so, marvels do not last long. 
Whenever I look into the mirror I am aghast at the wrin- 
kles which I shall find there very soon. I know, too, where 
they will come. [Indicating her eyes and mouthJ] They 
show already when I laugh. Ah, when she is twenty, how 
carelessly a woman laughs! [Putting down the mirror.^ 
When I laugh, I cover my face with my fan. WTien I 
am forty, I shall have all the Palace mirrors broken. [She 
recites simply.^ 

"When forty winters shall besiege thy brow" 

You recall Shakespeare's sonnet? — 



THE LOVER %i 

"When forty winters shall besiege thy brow 
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field, 
Thy youth's proud livery, so gazed-on now, 
Will be a tatter'd weed, of small worth held; 
Then being ask'd where all thy beauty lies, 
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days, 
To say, within thy own deep-sunken eyes. 
Were an ill-eating shame and thriftless praise. 
How much more praise deserved thy beauty's use, 
If thou couldst answer 'This fair child of mine 
Shall sum my count and make my old excuse,' 
Proving his beauty by succession thine! 
This were to be new made when thou art old, 
And feel thy blood warm when thou feel'st it cold." 

[Sighing.'\ I have never had a child! 

Lady in Waiting. Your Majesty! [Affectionately 
but disapprovingly.^ Your Majesty has no right to con- 
sider such a thing. 

The Queen. No, of course not. Ah! [Smiling 
again.] Do you suppose he could be a poet? 

Lady in Waiting. Why a poet? 

The Queen. Why not? In any case we shall soon 
know. 

Lady in Waiting. We shall? Hiow? 

The Queen. I shall ask, and learn his answer. 

Lady in Waiting. Surely Your Majesty does not in- 
tend — 

The Queen. To receive him? Precisely. 

Lady in Waiting. But Your Majesty, he is nobody. 

The Queen. In that case we shall become acquainted 
more easily. I shall offer him my thanks. 

Lady in Waiting. Your Majesty's Government will 
thank him officially. 

The Queen. But he has saved me personally, and I 
shall thank him personally. I will receive him now. 

Lady in Waiting. Your Majesty! 



82 THE LOVER 

The Queen. If there is nothing else that you wish to 
suggest . . . 

Lady in Waiting. Unless Your Majesty has changed 
her mind? 

The Queen. No, do not be alarmed. There is noth- 
ing to fear. — Ah! And I will receive him alone. 

Lady in Waiting. As Your Majesty commands. 
[She goes ow/.] 

[The Queen again takes the mirror and gazes into 
it fixedly. With a woman's instinct, she rearranges 
her hair; then laughs at herself and lays the mirror 
down again.^ 
The Queen. 
"When forty winters shall besiege thy brow" . . . 

[The Lady in Waiting and The Lover appear in 
the doorway. He is forty years of age, neither well 
nor badly dressed. He wears a black sack suit, his 
beard is pointed, his hair somewhat long and slightly 
touched with gray. He comes forward greatly agi- 
tated. The Lady in Waiting retires.] 

The Lover. Your Majesty! 

The Queen. No, come in. 

The Lover. [Advancing a step, then making a rever- 
ence.] Your Majesty! 

The Queen. Come nearer. 

The Lover. Your Majesty! 

The Queen. I have sent for you to offer my thanks. 

The Lover. I do not deserve them. Your Majesty 
will command. 

The Queen. It was a happy chance that brought you 
into the garden. 

The Lover. Yes, Your Majesty, yes. 

The Queen. And I am deeply grateful to you. 

The Lover. No, Your Majesty, no. 

The Queen. But I am. Indeed I am! 

The Lover. Your Majesty will decide. 



THE LOVER 83 

The Queen. But how is it that you were able to gain 
admission to the Gardens? 

The Lover. Very simply. 

The Queen. In spite of my guards? 

The Lover. Your Majesty, it was not the fault of 
your guards. I climbed the wall at the rear by the plane 
trees, out of sight of the guards. 

The Queen. In broad daylight? 

The Lover. No, Your Majesty, last night. Your 
Majesty must not be alarmed — 

The Queen. But the wall is very high there. You 
might have injured yourself. 

The Lover. No, Your Majesty, I am used to it. 

The Queen. Used to it? 

The Lover. Yes, Your Majesty, on Saturdays. The 
factory shuts down over Sunday, so I am 'not obliged to 
work. I have plenty of time; I can sleep where I like. 

The Queen. Do you spend the night in the open air, 
in the garden? 

The Lover. It is very pleasant in the summer time. 

The Queen. Do you mean that in winter? — 

The Lover. Just the same; yes, Your Majesty. 
[She makes a gesture of astonishment. '\ Only when it 
freezes, I go into the house with the orang-outang. Your 
Majesty keeps him now on the further side of the parterre. 
Don't be alarmed. Your Majesty; we are great friends. 
He is very fond of tarts and roast chestnuts, so you see 
there is no danger. 

The Queen. Great Heaven! Is it possible? Are 
you in your right mind? 

The Lover. Yes, Your Majesty. 

The Queen. But, my good man, what is the object of 
exposing yourself in mid-winter in this fashion, in such 
singular company? 

The Lover. Your Majesty . . . really ... I don't 
know whether or not I ought to tell you. 

The Queen. But you must ! 



84 THE LOVER 

The Lover. Your Majesty, every night before you re- 
tire, and when you get up in the morning, Your Majesty 
comes out upon the terrace before your apartments. In 
the evening, you look up at the stars; in the morning, you 
feed the white doves. 

The Queen. Yes, I do, poor things! I like to toss 
them a few handfuls of corn. 

The Lover. [Interrupting.'\ Indian corn. 

The Queen. How do you know? 

The Lover. The wind usually carries some grains off 
the terrace. 

The Queen. Do you pick them up? 

The Lover. Yes, Your Majesty, when I can, which 
is not often. The paths are swept every morning, so when 
night comes, they are no longer there. 

The Queen. What? Do you keep them? 

The Lover. Yes, Your Majesty. I have a collection 
of souvenirs: — the grains of corn; a feather from Your 
Majesty's hat, which blew out one day while you were 
driving; a piece of fur from one of Your Majesty's boas, 
which you wore at the last Carnival — it caught in the rail- 
ing as Your Majesty left the stand; a coin Your Majesty 
threw from your coach to a little beggar boy in the street; 
a tortoise-shell hairpin which fell into the garden one morning 
along with the corn; a pair of gloves; two of Your Majesty's 
slippers — I purchased them from a maid of one of the 
Ladies of the Wardrobe — and I don't know what else! 
You see, it is a little museum. An Englishman offered me 
a thousand pounds sterling for it. 

The Queen. {Interested.~\ What did you do? 

The Lover. Your Majesty, the heart is not for sale. 

The Queen. You must be rich. 

The Lover. No, Your Majesty, I was — that is to say, 
rich enough; I made a good living. But now, I am poor. 

The Queen. Have you lost your money? 

The Lover. Yes, Your Majesty. But we will not 
speak of that; it is of no interest to Your Majesty. 



THE LOVER 85 

The Queen. But it is. It interests me very much. 
May I ask . . . ? 

The Lover. How I lost my money? Yes, Your 
Majesty, it is not a secret. Even if it were, since it is 
Your Majesty ... I spent it upon railway tickets, sea- 
voyages, rooms in hotels. Your Majesty is such a great 
traveller! 

The Queen. Were you following me? [^He nods his 
head in assent.^ But this is incredible. 

The Lover. No, Your Majesty, no. Travelling is 
very expensive. As long as Your Majesty remained in 
Europe, it was not so bad; but when you made a voyage 
to India and another to the Fair at Chicago, and imme- 
diately after, a pilgrimage to the Holy Land — 

The Queen. Did you follow me even as far as 
India? 

The Lover. Yes, Your Majesty. Your Majesty will 
remember that the voyage was undertaken on account of 
your health. Your Majesty may not know it, but the 
doctors agreed that it was a question of life and death. It 
was necessary for you to have a change of climate. Thanks 
be to God, Your Majesty recovered, but you might have 
died on the journey. Your Majesty will understand that 
under the circumstances it was impossible for me to remain 
in Europe. 

The Queen. Impossible! 

The Lover. [Ingenuously. '\ Absolutely. 

The Queen. But I cannot consent to have you spend 
your fortune like this. 

The Lover. Your Majesty, do not give it another 
thought. It was not exactly a gold mine. A few thou- 
sands, that was all — the factory which I had the honor to 
mention to Your Majesty: "The Unrivalled, Makers of 
Butter and Cheese" — purveyers to Your Majesty, yes, in- 
deed! It was mine, now it belongs to another. That is 
all. 

The Queen. But you . . . ? 



86 THE LOVER 

The Lover. I am assistant bookkeeper now; I check 
up the accounts. 

The Queen. That must pay you very little. 

The Lover. Pshaw! Nothing to speak of. It is a 
humble position. Believe me, Your Majesty, I am capable 
of much more than that. If not proprietor, I might still 
have been manager, or foreman at least, only — 

The Queen. Only? 

The Lover. Only . . . Your Majesty will not be dis- 
pleased, but I must keep my time free. The fact is . . . 
well, I have taken this position because it gives me a 
living and — [Looking down at his clothes^ — and enough to 
appear respectable, because it requires only two hours a day, 
from half past nine until half past eleven in the morning, 
precisely the hours at which Your Majesty confers with 
your Ministers. Your 'Majesty will understand . . . 

The Queen. [Lauffhing.] Certainly! At that same 
hour we are both at the office. 

The Lover. No, no, Your Majesty! Your Majesty 
misinterprets my meaning. I never presumed to think . . . 
the fact is . . . well, between those hours my mind is 
more free; I am able to work without distraction, to apply 
myself. I am sure that Your Majesty is not upon the 
streets. 

The Queen. How long do you expect to continue this 
life? 

The Lover. As long as I am able, Your Majesty, and 
Your Majesty does not prevent. Your Majesty is not 
offended at what I have said? 

The Queen. Offended? No! But . . . you must 
be very unhappy. 

The Lover. No, Your Majesty, very happy. Fery 
happy! That is, not as happy as I was, because now, when 
Your Majesty leaves Court, I am not always able to travel. 
Rascally coin! But, fortunately, now Your Majesty travels 
less. It will not do to ask too much of fortune. Your 
Majesty, after what happened this morning, I ... I am 



THE LOVER 87 

repaid for everything which I have suffered in the world. 
Your Majesty cannot imagine how happy it makes me that 
. . . that is, Your Majesty cannot imagine how glad I am 
that this incident . . . although I would have given my 
life to have prevented it ... I mean . . . Your Majesty 
understands what I mean. 

The Queen. Yes, yes, I do. Do not distress yourself. 
I, too, am glad that it was you — 

The Lover. Your Majesty! 

The Queen. Because ... I have noticed your 
face for so many years, I have seen you for so long a 
time. 

The Lover. Your Majesty has noticed me? 

The Queen. Naturally. 

The Lover. Probably Your Majesty thought that I 
was a photographer for one of the illustrated papers? 

The Queen. I thought that you were a poet. 

The Lover. No, Your Majesty! No! Never! 

The Queen. Have you never written verses? 

The Lover. [Disappointed.'^ Does Your Majesty 
like verses? 

The Queen. Yes, I am very fond of them. 

The Lover. Goodness gracious! No, Your Majesty, 
no! Never! Never! [Brightening. '\ But I know by heart 
almost all the verses which have been published about Your 
Majesty — birthday verses, verses celebrating your victories, 
your works of charity, and so on, and so on. There are 
so many of them! Your Majesty of course knows them, 
too? 

The Queen. Not those verses. [Smiling.'\ 

The Lover. God bless us! 

The Queen. But you must not be troubled. One may 
be a poet, and yet not write verses. 

The Lover. Does Your Majesty think so? 

The Queen. Certainly, we may write poetry or we may 
live it. [Deeply affected.'\ And devotion and self-denial, 
illusion and dreaming, the sacrifice of one's life to an ideal, 



88 THE LOVER 

an impossibility — these things are also true poetry, great 
poetry, are they not? 

The Lover. [_Not understanding.^ No doubt. Your 
Majesty, no doubt. Of course, since Your Majesty says 
so. 

The Queen. And you are a great poet of life. 

The Lover. Your Majesty says so. 

The Queen. And I — because you are — in memory of 
this day, of this event, which also is an extraordinary one 
in my life — I am going to give you a present to add to that 
collection which you tell me of, and I hardly know — be- 
cause of your delicacy, your sacrifices, really — will you 
accept this remembrance from me? [^She offers him d 
jewel which she wears upon her breasti\ 

The Lover. No, no. Your Majesty! No! By no 
means! Really. Not that jewel! No, no! 

The Queen. But why not? 

The Lover. Because a jewel is — a jewel. That is, 
it has value — in itself; and — no, Your Majesty! No, no! 

The Queen. I did not wish to give offense. 

The Lover. No, Your Majesty, no! It is not that. 
It is . . . the way I feel. A caprice! If your Majesty 
would deign to give me some reminder, something personal, 
perhaps, of no value. 

The Queen. As you wish. 

The Lover. If you would let me have that mirror, 
Your Majesty, after looking into it, once. [The Queen 
looks into the mirror and then hands it to the Lover.^ 
There . . . Your Majesty! Thanks! Your Majesty will 
permit me to kiss your hand? [He kisses iV.] Thanks, 
thanks. Your Majesty! Believe me. Your Majesty — 
[Deeply moved.] This is the happiest day of my life. 

The Queen. I, too, am greatly obliged to you, and 
I wish to ask you a favor. If at any time you desire any- 
thing, anything which it is within my power to grant, you 
will do me a great kindness by coming to me. 



THE LOVER 89 

The Lover. \^Hesitatingj wishing to ask something. l^^ 
Your Majesty! 

The Queen. Now . . . Tell me truly, is there noth- 
ing that you wish? 

The Lover. Your Majesty! Since Your Majesty 
has been so kind ... If Your Majesty would exert your 
influence with the Minister of the Interior to have him 
grant me a pass over the railways of the Kingdom. 

The Queen. You shall have it this very day. Is 
there nothing else? What is your name? 

The Lover. Matthew, Your Majesty. Matthew 
Brown, Your Majesty's humble servant. 

The Queen. [Repeating the words so as to fix them 
in her memory.^ Matthew Brown. You shall have it 
this afternoon. Now, you may retire. [She strikes a small 
silver bell.] And many thanks yet again. [To the Lady 
in Waiting^ who enters.] Let this gentleman be escorted 
to his home, and a note be made of his address. [She bows, 
dismissing him.] 

The Lover. Your Majesty! . . . [Bowing very low, 
he is about to disappear, but as he reaches the door, he turns 
and says:] It need not be first class. [Goes out.] 

The Queen. [Disturbed, pacing up and down the 
room, without knowing whether to laugh or to cry.] 
Matthew Brown! Matthew Brown! [To The Lady in 
Waiting^ who re-enters.] Has he gone? 

Lady in Waiting. Yes, Your Majesty. But Your 
Majesty is unwell! Has this man given offense? He has 
been impertinent — 

The Queen. No! No! On the contrary. Poor 
fellow ! 

Lady in Waiting. Was he a poet? 

The Queen. A poet? No. That is — yes, in his way. 
Imagine — but how can you imagine? My God! This 
poor man has given his life for me, for to him his cheese 
factory was his life. Four centuries ago he would have 



90 THE LOVER 

fought under my banners, he would have conquered a king- 
dom for my sake, he would have discovered a new world 
and have laid it at my feet, and now — now, to see me 
feed corn to the doves, he sleeps in a cage with the orang- 
outang! And his name is Matthew Brown — Matthew 
Brown, the Lover! The poet was right: — ^We have been 
born too late into a world which has grown too oldl 



Curtain 



LOVE MAGIC 

COMEDY IN ONE ACT AND TWO SCENES 

SALON NACIONAL, MADRID 
1908 

WALDORF-ASTORIA, NEW YORK 
1918 



CHARACTERS 

The Prologue. 

Pierrot. 

Columbine, Pierrot's Wife. 

Pierrette, Maid and Confidant of Columbine, 

PoLiCHiNELLE, An Old Magician. 

Harlequin. 

A Little Girl. 



LOVE MAGIC 

The Prologue. Rum-a-tum-tum ! Ladies and gentle- 
men! Although I am a marionette, I am the Prologue. 
And invested with so high a dignity, permit me to announce 
the subject of the comedy which is about to be presented, 
and to address you in eulogy of the personages who are 
to appear in it. Ladies and gentlemen! Inevitably it 
treats of love. Love! Love! I wish, ladies and gentle- 
men, I were a poet at this moment so that I might present 
to you in a nosegay of the sweetest smelling syllables a pane- 
gyric of that dear misfortune, that delightful pain, that 
fatal passion, that enchantment, that irresistible effluence 
of the stars, that fierce consuming of the soul, that death- 
dealing microbe — or whatever it is that you may decide 
this delicious inquietude to be, which, through all the cen- 
turies, men and women have agreed to call love. You 
would listen amazed, if I were such a poet, to the crackling 
and scintillation of my metaphors; you would admire and 
marvel at the unstable, shifting winds, the soft, unfolding 
flowers, the 'broad expanse of heaven, the silver fountains, 
the caverns, the eagles, the sun rays and the moonbeams, 
and all the twinkling stars which I should make dance 
before you upon the rope of my imagination to embellish 
my discourse. You would twiddle your thumbs with de- 
light, ladies and gentlemen, listening to my discourse, if 
I were a poet; but I have already told you that I am not 
one; I am only a marionette and the Prologue. I see you 
smile. Smile, then, but don't disdain me. To be these 
two things at one and the same time one must amount to 
something. Marionette! I see you laugh. Joy sparkles 
in all your eyes. Do you suppose that it is a small thing 
to have a name the very mention of which is enough to 

95 



96 LOVE MAGIC 

make people laugh? And do you suppose it is nothing, 
when you have it, to be able to live up to it throughout 
the ages and to uphold such a reputation v/xXh a dignity 
which, after all, is purely ridiculous? And we have up- 
held it, yes we have, ladies and gentlemen, splendidly, like 
kings and princes. Our little bodies are our witnesses. 
To win applause they disjoint themselves, twist and turn 
and bend backward, throw off their arms and heads into 
the air, or lose a leg in a high prance to get it back again 
in a pirouette. See! We palpitate from head to foot, 
every inch of us, as if our bodies were all hearts. And 
yet, ladies and gentlemen, beyond a doubt we have no 
hearts. What should we need of them when we vi- 
brate and fly from one thing to another so continuously 
without them? 

A Little Girl. But, Mr. Prologue, how can mari- 
onettes love if they have no hearts? 

The Prologue. I did not say that they could love, 
my dear young lady. 

Little Girl. Didn't you say, Mr. Prologue, that your 
comedy was about love? 

Prologue. That is exactly it. It is about love, but it 
is a comedy. 

Little Girl. Oh! 

Prologue. But do not be sad, beautiful black eyes, 
for our comedy will be incomparably played. All the love 
in the world could never discover lover's sighs anywhere 
which would be like those of Columbine. 

Little Girl. Good! Good! Are you going to tell 
us about Columbine? 

Prologue. Why not? Know then that she is white, 
but not pale, because in each of her cheeks every instant? 
a rose is about to be born. She has painted her lips with 
the red of poppies, and one day when she sat down to 
dream, looking out over a meadow, two violets sprang up 
and jumped into her eyes. Since then nobody has been 
able to tell whether her glances were fragrance or light, 



LOVE MAGIC 97 

and out of this sweet confusion, as out of all beautiful 
confusions, a harmony springs, which we call music. And 
so the look of Columbine is a song. Merely listening to 
her sing and hearing her laugh, men have gone mad. So 
her mind is like a wonderful bird-cage, filled with night- 
ingales, which, like all captive nightingales, feed upon hearts 
— upon her heart. That is why Columbine is unfaithful 
to Pierrot, sometimes — to feed her heart. For Pierrot, 
who is a marionette and a puppet as she is, refuses her 
the heart's meat on which, as I have told you, the night- 
ingales feed. 

Little Girl. Good! Good! Now tell us about 
Pierrot. 

Prologue. What shall I tell you about Pierrot? His 
mind is like a sunbeam which has fallen into a globe of 
crystal and clear water, and all the colors are there in it, 
except one, which is constancy. You see today he 
imagines he is a philosopher, but out of his phi- 
losophy roses spring, so that our comedy which begins with 
a sigh, ends with an embrace, or, rather, with two em- 
braces, because Harlequin, after he has sung his song so 
earnestly, and to such utter disdain, Consoles himself for 
love by loving, and for the kisses which he cannot get, by 
those the girls will give. For this is the proper way all 
love songs should end. • Try and sing them, gentlemen, 
you will always find some ear that is willing to hear. And 
you, beautiful ladiesr, listen to the song of love while it 
is floating in the air and catch it on the wing, for you will 
find that it is tame and it thrives in captivity. Ask 
Pierrette if the kisses have not turned to honey which she 
has taken in when they had lost their way and had no- 
where else to go. Now, ladies and gentlemen, I can only 
add that wisdom is about to appear upon the stage of our 
farce, but the triumph of folly will oblige him soon to 
break his wand. [The curtain rises.^ The comedy be- 
gins. This is the garden — I forgot to tell you that the 
stage represents a garden. Open your ears, for the foun- 



98 LOVE MAGIC 

tain begins to play, open your eyes for the roses are burst- 
ing into bloom. 

[The Prologue retires.l 



SCENE I 

In Pierrot's garden. There is an arbor with 
rustic benches dt the right. It is spring. Trees and 
bushes droop their boughs, laden heavily with flowers, 
perfuming all the air. The breezes sing vnth the 
voices of birds, and the sky smiles bright with sun- 
shine. 

Columbine^ seated within the arbor, whose foliage 
conceals her almost completely, seems wrapped in mel- 
ancholy thought. Pierrot walks up and down at the 
rear, musing, and gazing contemplatively from the sky 
to the ground and from the ground to the sky, ling- 
ering lovingly before the flowering trees and talking 
to the flowers. 

Pierrot. [Declaiming.'] O Nature! Mother without 
beginning and without ending, beyond the touch of time! 
What can I do to merit all thy gifts? Roses of fire! 
How can I ever hope to know the mystery which is flaming 
at your hearts? Lilies! How can I penetrate the secrets 
of your petals of white snow? Thanks, thanks, O Beauty, 
thanks, for thou hast rent thy veil before mine eyes! 
And in comtemplation of thy treasures I must end my 
life. 

Columbine. Ah! Woe is me! 

Pierrot. [Disappearing, lost in the depths of the 
garden.'] Thanks, thanks, a thousand thanks! I value my 
vision and my poet's dreams above all the splendors and 
above all the loves of earth and heaven. 

Columbine. Ah! Woe is me! 



LOVE MAGIC 99 

[Pierrette enters, accompanied by Polichinelle.] 

Pierrette. Enter, Signer Polichinelle, quickly; for now 
Signor Pierrot is wrapped in his meditations. Hie will not 
discover that you are here. Enter . . . 

Polichinelle. Did you say that your mistress had sent 
for me? 

Pierrette. Oh, how eagerly, Signor Mage! Could 
I but make you understand how wretched the poor child 
has beenl Does it not pierce the very soul to look at 
her? She spends all the day and the night-time sighing, 
she is fading away so fast. That divine form of hers is 
not what it once was, alas! 

Polichinelle. Alas ! 

Pierrette. How oblivious men are to such things, 
Signor Mage! 

Polichinelle. Not all men. 

Pierrette. My lady is like the driven snows of heaven 
to her spouse. [Turning toward the back with a menac- 
ing gesture.] Ah, Signor Pierrot! Signor Pierrot! 

Polichinelle. Hush! I think Columbine has dis- 
covered us. 

Columbine. [Coming out of the arbor and advanc- 
ing in tears toward Polichinelle.] Ah, Signor Magician! 
How impatiently I have awaited your arrival! 

Polichinelle. [Bowing.] Signora Columbine! 

Columbine. Bring chairs, Pierrette. — Ah! Woe is 
me! 

Polichinelle. Do not sigh, lady. 

Columbine. I am so unhappy! 

Polichinelle. I congratulate you — 

Columbine. Upon being unhappy? 

Polichinelle. No; upon finding that your beauty has 
not faded so fast as I had been led to suppose. Of course, 
1 had heard from Pierrette — 

Pierrette. [Returning with the chairs.} What do 
you know about such things, you old dotard ? Nonsense ! I 



loo LOVE MAGIC 

suppose a woman's beauty is like an article of religion in 
your eyes — there is no more to it than seeing and believ- 
ing. 

Columbine. Leave us, Pierrette! 

Pierrette. [Before retiring, she looks toward the rear, 
where it is to be supposed that she sees PiERROT.] There 
he is now. Look at him! — bending over the roses, and, 
1 dare say, composing verses in their praise. I would hand 
him a bunch of roses if he had the honor to be my spouse! 
Ah, Signor Pierrot! Unhappiest of men! Don't you know 
that you are not the only poet in the world; that there are 
others who compose as beautiful verses as you do, and to 
better purpose? . . . \_The notes of a cithern are heard 
in the distance.'\ Didn't I tell you? It is the good Har- 
lequin. 

Harlequin. [Singing.'] 

White roses are her forehead, 
The waving grain her hair, 
The stars her eyes; 
Alabaster pure her shoulder, 
And the beauties that enfold her 
The starry skies. 

Who would not be of the roses, 

Or the grain that is her hair? 

Her starry eyes? 

Or her neck of alabaster, 

Serf and slave where she is master— 

Her deep heart's sighs? 

[The words are heard afar off, linked with a haunt- 
ing melody. Pierrette listens, entranced, emphasiz- 
ing them with gestures of approval. Columbine 
rises indignantly, the first stanza scarcely concluded, 
and presently addresses PIERRETTE.] 
Columbine. Pierrette! 



LOVE MAGIC loi 

Pierrette. Lady ! 

Columbine. Didn't I command you to send that im- 
pertinent fellow away? His music is displeasing to my 
ear. 

Pierrette. In compliance with your command, I shut 
the gate in his face, and the body of your lover remains 
outside in the alley, sore distressed. But his spirit — woe 
is me! — is an immaterial thing, and who can deprive Signor 
Harlequin of the consolation of sending it after you where- 
ever you may be, on the wings of his songs? 

Columbine. Go and tell him that he offends me with 
his music. 

Pierrette. I would not be too severe with him, if I 
were you. What harm can it do just to hear? 

Columbine. [Indignantly.'] Pierrette ! 

Pierrette. \_As she turns to go.] All, all are blindly 
in love with the impossible: my lady with her husband. 
Harlequin with my lady, and with me, nobody — which, 
alas, is only too possible! 

[Columbine sinks again into her chair and sighs 
wearily.] 

PoLiCHiNELLE. [Greatly perplexed.] But will you 
be kind enough to explain to me what the matter is? 
What is the meaning of these tears, these songs of Har- 
lequin's, this inexplicable discontent upon the part of your 
maid? Why all this mystery? I am distracted — I shall 
go out of my head. 

Columbine. Ah, Signor Polichinelle, love is the most 
mysterious thing in the world! 

Polichinelle. I should be sorry to have you think 
so. Love is a natural function; it is simple, perfectly 
simple. The difficulty is that we complicate it with spiri- 
tual distinctions. Ah! That is where the trouble begins. 
Nature is never willing to have man improve upon her 
processes. 

Columbine. The fact is — 



loa LOVE MAGIC 

PoLiCHiNELLE. That IS precisely the fact. 

Columbine. The fact is that my husband does not 
love me. 

PoLiCHiNELLB. What do you say? What is that? 
Pierrot is deceiving you? 

Columbine. He is not even deceiving me. Oh, if 
only once he would deceive me! Then, at least, I might 
be thankful that he had had the grace to consider me, to 
make some effort to preserve my ideals. 

POLICHINELLE. But your rival? 

Columbine. My rival, Signor Mage, is Nature. 
[PoLiCHiNELLE IS dumbfounded. '\ Yes, Pierrot is a poet 
— the more miserable he! He adores the carmine in the 
roses, but he disdains it upon my lips. He worships the 
azure of the overarching sky, but he cannot see it in the 
teardrop which glistens in my eye. He drinks sweet per- 
fumes on the breezes, but he will not quaff them from 
the zephyrs which are wafted from my mouth. . . . Ah! 
Woe is me! Woe is me! 

PoLiCHiNELLE. Pierrot a poet? You are right. 
Poetry in marriage is entirely out of place. It is an in- 
truder, an interloper, like anything else which we do not 
expect. But these songs of Harlequin's? 

Columbine. They are another complication, Signor 
Mage. My misfortune, thanks to the little pains which 
my husband takes to deceive me, has become known to all 
men, and Harlequin has had the audacity to presume to 
console me for it. He wishes me to follow the old adage 
which says that "Love is cured by love," he . . . 

POLICHINELLE. What is it that he wishes you to do? 

Columbine. Have no fear, I shall not follow his ad- 
vice. 

POLICHINELLE. You are right. For this notion that 
love can be cured by love is sheer nonsense. Believe me, 
there is no cure for anything on earth, outside of science. 
You can trust me for that, Signora. I am a wise old 
man. 



LOVE MAGIC 103 

Columbine. That is the reason I have sent for you. 

PoLiCHiNELLE. You have done well, my daughter. 
[He meditates.^ You say that your husband has deserted 
you, he has abandoned and is tired of you, he writes verses 
— all of these are bad signs, very bad. However, fortu- 
nately — 

Columbine. Is there no remedy? 

PoLiCHiNELLE. One — one which is well-nigh infallible. 
\_He draws a crystal phial from the recesses of his robe.^ 
Take this phial. In it has been brewed a philter, com- 
pounded by magic art out of the essence of your tears. 

Columbine. But what shall I do with this philter? 

POLICHINELLE. Whenever Pierrot is pensive and ab- 
sorbed, wrapt in his poetic ecstasy, let fall but one drop 
from this phial, and poesy — adieu! 

Columbine. I do not understand. 

PoLiNCHiNELLE. Listen. For example, you say that 
Pierrot is enraptured with the azure of the skies. Spill 
but one drop, let fall but one tear, and the sky will be 
covered with thick clouds in his sight. 

Columbine. I understand. 

POLICHINELLE. So, little by little, hour by hour, he 
will become disenchanted with all natural beauty, and he 
will turn again to yours. 

Columbine. Which also is natural, believe me, Signor 
Mage. 

POLICHINELLE. I believe you — ah, too well! Adieu! 

Columbine. How can I ever thank you? 

POLICHINELLE. Do not thank me too much, or your 
gratitude will overcome my wisdom, and lay it prostrate in 
the dust. Signora! . . . 

[He bows and retires.^ 

Columbine. I am saved. [Calling.'] Pierrette! 
Pierrette! [Pierrette enters.] Come and rejoice with 
me. 

Pierrette. [Disappointed.] Do you mean — that is to 
say^ — Has the Sage found a remedy? Then — 



V04 LOVE MAGIC 

[Endeavoring to conceal a note which she is carry- 
ing in her handJ\ 
Columbine. What is that? What paper are you try- 
^g to conceal? {She seizes rV.] A letter from H^arlequin! 
Is this the way that you obey my commands? 

Pierrette. I gave your message to Signer Harlequin, 
and he was cast down into the uttermost depths when he 
heard that his song had given you pain; and so, to prove 
that he intended no offense, he has written out the verses 
on this piece of paper, which he begged me to put into 
your hands; but if you do not wish it — 

Columbine. No, no, let me see. Surely I ought 
to read what they are. It is my duty to make an example 
of him — a horrible example! [She runs her eye over the 
paper. '^ Words and phrases of fire, fire shall put out your 
fire! 

Pierrette. My lord! — my lady. 
Columbine. Spirit of God, aid me now! 

[Pierrot enters. He carries a bunch of purple 
roses in his hand. As he advances, he gazes lovingly 
from flower to flower, and begins meditatively to re- 
cite the verses which he has composed in their praiseJ\ 
Pierrot. 

Purple petals, rich in hue, 

God has shed his blood for you — 

[Columbine lets the first drop fall from the phial.l 

Pierrot. [Crying out.] Ay! 

Columbine. [Running up to Aim.] What is the mat- 
ter? 

Pierrot. A thorn pierced my hand. 

Columbine. My love, leave the roses, for they are full 
of thorns. [She takes the flowers from Pierrot's hands 
and dashes them violently upon the ground. They leave a 
purple trail behind them as they pass through the air, and 
then fall, their stems bare. Pierrot watches them fall and 



LOVE MAGIC 105 

sighs heavily. Columbine flings herself into his arms."] 
What are you thinking of? What is on your mind? 
Don't you know that my love is a flower that can never 
be stripped bare? 



SCENE II 

Pierrot's garden in autumn. There are no more flowers 
in it — only a few pallid roses and some hardy chrysanthe- 
mums. At the back glows the red of the setting sun. 
Above, little white clouds are driven fitfully across the sky, 
while at intervals gusts of wind shake the trees and scatter 
the dry leaves upon the ground, or rustle them about in 
restless golden whorls. 

Columbine and Polichinelle are seated in the garden. 
Columbine is even more melancholy than in the first 
scene. 

Polichinelle. But it is clearly impossible! Do you 
say that my remedy produced no effect? 

Columbine. A most marvelous effect. 

Polichinelle. Frankly, then, I do not understand. 

Columbine. The remedy was worse than the disease. 
Pierrot has ceased to be a poet, but he has become a phi- 
losopher. 

Polichinelle. A philosopher? 

Columbine. Yes, so much the more miserable he! 
Your philter was too efficacious. For days now there has 
been no sky without clouds for Pierrot, no rose without a 
thorn, no pleasure without loathing and disgust. Even the 
perfume of the flowers gives him pain, so that I, too, have 
almost begun to pity him. 

Polichinelle. But have you manifested your pity with 
tenderness and affection? 

Columbine. As affectionately as I was able; but alas! 
when my husband, disillusioned with the perfidies and im- 
perfections of Nature, turned to hate and despise them, he 
took it mto his head that my beauty, also, was a natural 

xo6 



LOVE MAGIC 107 

thing, and it has been impossible to disabuse him of it. 
You can imagine the consequence. My lips seem to him 
like roses, my eyes like the sea or the sky, my hair like the 
sunbeams; and not only that, but Pierrot has discovered in 
various parts of my person all the blots, scars, stains, 
blemishes, tempests and storm-clouds that afflict the uni- 
verse or offend the sense of beauty. I am worse off than 
I was before, Signor Mage. [A pause ensues.^ Have 
you no new remedy to prescribe for this new evil ? 

PoLiCHiNELLE. It will be difficult, Signora Columbine. 
It seems that the spirit of your husband is obdurate to 
love. If you could only learn to forget, to resign your- 
self— 

Columbine. Is that all your boasted science can do? 
Know then that I do not wish to resign myself; I wish to 
love. I am looking for a cure, not for consolation. 

PoLiCHiNELLE. Do not be angry with me, lady. The 
problem is stubborn and involved. But I shall study it 
in my laboratory, and I swear to you that I will never 
emerge from it so long as I shall live, unless I have found 
an infallible medicine. [He ffoes out.^ 

Columbine. Science and wisdom hear! 
[Pierrette enters.] 

Pierrette. Wisdom ? I should like to know what wis- 
dom has got to do with love? What does that old impostor 
know about it anyway? At his age! 

Columbine. Age is a guarantee of knowledge. 

Pierrette. Not to me. It may be in some things, but 
in affairs of the heart practice makes more perfect than 
learning. In love, experience is the key which opens hearts ; 
if it is not used, it rusts. And I do not need to ask you 
how long it must be since Signor Polichinelle has used 
his key. 

Columbine. Will you always destroy my illusions, 
Pierrette ? 

Pierrette. Yes, because one reality is worth a thou- 
sand illusions. Signor Harlequin — 



io8 LOVE MAGIC 

Columbine. Do not talk to me about Harlequin! 

Pierrette. Signer Harlequin is a reality. Believe me, 
my lady, there is no illusion about him. I know, and I 
can answer for it. Besides, you must be convinced by this 
time that all the drugs of the sorcerers are of no avail to 
win back the heart of Signor Pierrot. 

Columbine. Alas! So I am. Woe is me! 

Pierrette. So that you will never find a remedy through 
the aid of science? 

Columbine. I fear it. 

Pierrette. Leave it to me, then, and let me put my 
plan into execution. 

Columbine. What plan? What is it that you wish 
to do? 

Pierrette. You will soon see. Without any other sci- 
ence than experience, which I have picked up on my way 
through the world, I shall save you. The first thing to 
do is to receive Harlequin. 

Columbine. Pierrette! 

Pierrette. Though it be only to undeceive him. One 
angry word from your lips would have a thousand times 
more effect than a thousand sermons from mine, which, 
to tell the truth, were not made for sermons. — But in any 
case, he is here. 

[Harlequin enters and throws himself at Colum- 
bine's feet.l 

Harlequin. Queen of my soul, sun of my spirit, mag- 
net and pole of my desire! 

Columbine. What is this? Rise! — Pierrette, is this 
the way that you obey my commands? 

Pierrette. Pardon, lady, but it is too much for you 
to expect me to stand forever between the fire and the 
wall. You don't know to what dangers I have been ex- 
posed, contending continually against the ardors of Signor 
Harlequin ! 

Harlequin. My lady, in turn I beseech you to pardon 



LOVE MAGIC 109 

Pierrette. It was not her negligence, but my audacity, 
which caused this wrong, if wrong it be. 

Columbine. How? 

Harlequin. Does the heart overwhelmed in darkness 
sin because it desires the light? 

Columbine. Desire is one thing, performance is an- 
other. 

Harlequin. Columbine, in the minds of lovers desire 
is performance. The desires of Love are mandates, per- 
emptory as the laws of life! 

Columbine. You blaspheme, Signor Harlequin. Cer- 
tainly, to love like this is a crime. 

Harlequin. What matter so long as it is love? Do 
not shrink and draw away from me! Move closer, lady. 
At least listen to my tale of woe. Grant me this sol- 
ace — 

Columbine. Will you promise to go away then im- 
mediately, if I do? 

Harlequin. If you ask me to. 

Columbine. And will you promise never to come 
back? 

Harlequin. If you are not convinced by my argu- 
ments. 

Columbine. You may talk. 

Harlequin. Thanks. 

[He kisses her hand.'\ 

Columbine. I said talk. 

Harlequin. My lady, that was the irrepressible cry 
of my soul. 

Columbine. You have a soul that has been most rudely 
brought up^. 

Pierrette. [To Columbine.] Good! Lead him on. 

Harlequin. Pardon, lady, for my soul and for me. 
We have both hungered through so many ages for a sight 
of this glory, that now when we find ourselves in your 
presence, my soul and I, face to face, it is small wonder that 



no LOVE MAGIC 

we forget our ill-fortune, and become boys again, and throw 
to the winds all sense of proper restraint. 

Columbine. Which my dignity cannot excuse, Signor 
Harlequin. 

Harlequin. But your love and your sympathy ought 
to excuse it. 

Columbine. Do you presume to talk to me of ought? 
Harlequin, Ought there not to be many oughts be- 
tween you and me, Columbine, oughts and never an ought 
not? 
Columbine. Between you and me? — ^You? 
Harlequin. Yes, Columbine, me; me — and you. For 
I am wretched for your sake! 

Columbine. It is not for my sake. 
Harlequin. It may not be through your fault. 
Columbine. I like that better. 

Harlequin. But it is the same to me; my misery is 
the same, because I love you, Columbine, I love you, I love 
you so much that when I love you all I can, I hate my- 
self — unhappy that I am ! — because I cannot love you more. 
I love you, I love you, I love you! 

[Each time that he says "I love you'' he kisses her 
hands passionately. ^ 
Columbine. [Defending herself a little, but not dis- 
pleased at heart-l Not so loud, Signor Harlequin! Not 
so loud — there may be an echo in the garden. 

[They wander off at the rear, pursuing the debate, 
and disappear.^ 
PiERREn*E. I should never have believed it possible 
that the grief of my mistress would have been so difficult to 
console. — Ah, me! 

[Pierrot enters. He carries a book in his hand. 

He reads and meditates.^ 

Pierrot. To think that even in the dewdrops — the 

radiant tears of morning — there is a world of monsters, a 

contending universe of pain! To know that the smiling 

verdure of the fields is but the mask of foul decay, the 



LOVE MAGIC III 

immortal beauty which we love, the veil and dull similitude 
of death! 

[He paces back and forth, absorbed in his medi- 
tations.^ 

Pierrette. [Approaching him^ sympathetically. 1^ Signer 
Pierrot — 

Pierrot. Who speaks to me? Ah! Is it you? 
[Angrily.] Why are you smiling? Why are you so 
happy ? 

Pierrette. Signer, life is beautiful. 

Pierrot. Do you know what you bear within? A 
skeleton, a void, nothing! [A pause follows.} Where is 
your lady? 

Pierrette. She was here a moment since, so wretched 
over your philosophy. She was in tears. But now she 
is consoling herself — that is to say, she has company. 
Signor Harlequin — 

Pierrot. Hiarlequin ? 

Pierrette. A most extraordinary young man, proud, 
handsome, amorous — 

Pierrot. What is that? 

Pierrette. And an excellent poet. My lady could not 
possibly have chosen better company. 

Pierrot. Wh;at do you say? Wliy do you tell me 
these things? 

Pierrettte. Because they are true. 

Pierrot. What makes you look at me like this? 

Pierrette. I was counting sadly the wrinkles which 
philosophy has dug in your brow. 

Pierrot. Tell Columbine that I wish to see her. 

Pierrette. Do you think it will be wise to interrupt 
them now? 

Pierrot. Is she so intent upon that visit? 

Pierrette. Look and see. There they are . . . 
[Pierrot retires and peers through the shrubbery.] D<? 
you see anything? 

Pierrot. That Harlequin is a fool. 



112 LOVE MAGIC 

Pierrette. Oh, no, he is not ! Why, all the while one 
is with him, he has such winning ways. [Columbine 
laughsJ] My lady laughs. Poor lady! It is so long since 
I have heard her laugh. Ah! Look! — I wondered what 
they were doing. That was a happy stroke of Signor 
Harlequin's. But what is the matter? [Pierrot starts 
to run and rushes headlong off the stage like one possessed.^ 
Where are you going? Ah, ha, ha, ha! See him run! 
Ha, ha, ha! A jealous man is always ridiculous! There 
he is now. He is furious . . . My lady pleads for mercy. 
And Signor Harlequin — he effaces himself — he fades 
modestly out of sight ... I am sorry for that man! 

\_The sound of rude voices is heard in the garden; 
shortly afterward Harlequin emerges from the trees. 
He comes forward with a dejected, disappointed air, 
and hurries rapidly across the stage.^ 

Pierrette. [Detaining him-l What is the matter, 
Signor Hiarlequin? Was not my lady willing to be con- 
soled? 

Harlequin. Your lady is a model of conjugal fidelity. 

Pierrette. Who told you to go wandering in other 
people's gardens, exploring hearts which have masters? 
Better stick to the highways and the byways, Signor Rover, 
and to fields which are virgin. 

Harlequin. Do you know any? 

Pierrette. That is a reflection upon me. What do 
you mean, Signor Harlequin? 

Harlequin. I mean any disposed to receive me? 

Pierrette. Why, Signor Harlequin! I — What do 
you want me to say ? I am a young and inexperienced girl, 
but I am sure that there must be someone — perhaps not 
so very far away. You know what the song says: "When 
least you expect it" — And I never expected it. Don't 
look at me like that . . . 

[J pause ensues. Pierrette's eyes become eloquent 
in the silence of her lips, and pronounce a significant 
discourse. "] 



LOVE MAGIC 113 

Harlequin. [With sudden resolution.'] G)uld you 
love me, Pierrette? 

Pierrette. Ha, ha, ha! Do you think I win my 
victories through other people's arms? 
Harlequin. Don't be cruel! 

Pierrette. My lady is much more beautiful than I. 
Harlequin. Illusion! The beauty of woman is all 
one great store, one vast and perfect body, of which every 
woman is but an individual part. Your lady is beautiful, 
you are as beautiful as she — both different parts of the 
same great beauty. 

Pierrette. But, I wonder, just what part of this great 
beauty that you tell me of, am I ? 

Harlequin. From what I feel, you must be very near 
the heart! [They embrace.^ 

[Pierrot and Columbine re-enter and advance into 
the garden. They also are locked in an embrace, and 
gaze steadfastly into each other s eyes, full of happi- 
ness. "] 
Columbine. Swear to me that you are telling me the 
truth, Pierrot. 

Pierrot. I swear it. The fear of losing you has re- 
vealed to me the truth that your love was the soul of my 
life. Your words are the most beautiful of poems, and 
your embraces the most enduring of philosophies. 

Polichinelle. [Entering precipitately with a phial in 
his hand.] Signora, here is the philter, the love magic, 
the true, the infallible medicine! 

[All laugh gaily, and Pierrette carries her im- 
pertinence so far as to mimic the magician with many 
a comic grimace. Polichinelle stares at them in 
amazement. The phial which he carries in his hands 
explodes with a loud report, and the Elixir of Love is 
scattered upon the ground. 
Pierrette. It was about time to explode it. 
Polichinelle. What is this I see? 
Pierrette. What you see, Signor Mage, is simply this: 



114 LOVE MAGIC 

that science is superfluous when it comes to afltairs of the 
heart. There all wisdom is vain, and all philters are 
colored water. For love is cured by love, and disdain by 
jealousy; so it has been since the beginning of the world, 
and so it will be until the world has ceased to be. Spells 
and conjurations are of very little use. The love that has 
fallen asleep through excess of good fortune is not be awak- 
ened again without the menace of another love which is more 
passionate, and which burns like youth's fire. That is all 
there is to it. My master was asleep because my lady 
loved him too much, and he has waked at the fear that she 
might cease to love him so. Don't you see? 

PoLiCHiNELLE. Hum — what I see. But — [Pointing 
at Harlequin.] Wasn't this gentleman also in love? 

Pierrette. Head over heels; you can surely see it. 

PoLiCHiNELLE. [Protesting. '\ But not with you. 

Pierrette. Ha, ha, ha! He thought not himself, but 
he soon found his mistake, through my assistance — and the 
force of circumstances. 

Polichinelle. Hiim! 

Harlequin. Although I am a young man, Signer 
Polichinelle, and a poet, I too have my philosophy. And 
in the first chapter, there is this maxim: "He who refuses 
to console himself for the kisses which he cannot get, by 
those the girls will give, is mad entirely." 

[The sorcerer, scandalized, takes to his heels, cover- 
ing his ears with his hands, then throwing his arms into 
the air, brandishing them wildly. Soft, sweet music 
sounds, and the two pairs of lovers begin a slow and 
stately dance. '^ 

Curtain 



POOR JOHN 

COMEDY IN ONE ACT 

TEATRO LARA, MADRID 
1912 

PACIFIC GROVE, CALIFORNIA 

1920 

THEATRE, LONDON 
1928 



CHARACTERS 



Mariana', aged 20 
John, aged 22 
Antonio, aged 23 
Mama Ines, aged 66 
Mama Pepa, aged 70 
Don Carlos, aged 48 
Two Factory H^^nds 
Two Maids 



POOR JOHN 

A formal garden en parterre. A number of wicker arm 
chairs, rocking chairs and a chaise longue, all of which are 
plentifully provided with cretonne cushions, are set out in 
the shade of a sturdy walnut tree. Two tables stand near 
by, one contairiing a tray with fruit and breakfast service, 
the other, boxes of candy, flowers, and a bundle of lace tied 
with ribbon. There are flowers also on the chaise longue. 

Mama Pepa and Mama Ines are seated together. 
Mama Ines is sewing. Mama Pepa has been reading, and 
removes her spectacles, wipes them with her handkerchief, 
and puts them on again. 

Mama Pepa. It is going to rain this afternoon. 

Mama Ines. Nothing of the sort! What makes you 
think it is going to rain? 

Mama Pepa. Don't you see that cloud coming up ? 

Mama Ines. Yes, it is wind. 

Mama Pepa. I say it is rain. My leg tells me so. 

Mama Ines, Well, my arm tells me that we shall have 
fine weather for the rest of the week. 

Mama Pepa. God help us both ! [^The factory whistle 
blows.~\ There goes the whistle. The factory clock must 
be fast today. 

Mama Ines. Nothing of the sort. How can it be 
fast when it was eight o'clock ten minutes ago? 

Mama Pepa. Did your arm tell you that? 

Mama Ines. No, the sun told me. It is around on the 
second stone in the gallery floor already. 

Mariana. [^Speaking outside.^ Good-bye, good-bye! 
Thank you, thank you all so much . . . [Laughing.^ Of 
course! Thanks awfully just the same. Good-bye, good- 

119 



I20 POOR JOHN 

bye! [She enters carrying a bouquet of roses in one hand.^ 
I believe they all love me. Everybody seemed so happy 
as they w^ent away. Perhaps they really do love me, 
too; exerything in this world cannot be put on. [She 
goes over to the table.'\ Roses, lilies, carnations . . • 
Gracious! And chocolates! [Taking one.^ I must save 
a few, though, for John. Poor boy, he has such a sweet 
tooth — just like me! Our tastes are the same in every- 
thing. [The old ladies cough. Mariana looks up, but 
pays no attention.^ Isn't it too lovely to be twenty and 
have so many presents? [The whistle blows again.^ The 
second whistle! It sounds more like a ship's siren than 
it does like a factory whistle. I should like to go on a long, 
long voyage. 

Mama Pepa. Yes, and get sea-sick. 

Mariana. What of it? I should go ashore on some 
islands which are nowhere on the map, and discover them, 
and civilize the natives — that is, not altogether, because 
then they would have to wear trousers and gloves and 
top-hats. Men are never so ugly as when they are all 
dressed up. 

Mama Ines. You don't know what you are talking 
about. 

Mariana. Mama Pepa and Mama Ines, you two dear 
old grandmothers, I am so happy! But, oh, how I do long 
to be so much happier! 

Mama Pepa. It would make no difference to you. 

Mariana. Yes, it would ; that is, it seems to me it 
would make a great deal of difference. I am happy now 
because the sun shines and I am twenty, and there is noth- 
ing the matter with me, I thank God for that. Every- 
thing seems to be so simple and easy, so much a matter of 
course. But happiness must be something a great deal 
more — it must be more inside of you, don't you know? 
It must be something awfully solemn. No, not exactly 
solemn either. I mean . . . Anyway, sometimes a girl 
feels so happy that she would just love to cry. 



POOR JOHN 121 

Mama Pe'pa. Mercy on us! What is wrong with the 
child? 

Mariana. You will find out when the time comes — 
if the time ever does come. 

Mama Ines. She is out of her head. 

Mariana. My two dear, old respectable grandmothers, 
do you really think that the time ever will come? Do you 
really? Or are you just perfectly certain that it will not? 

Mama Pepa. Think what time will come? 

Mariana. The time that every girl is longing for, 
without having any idea what it is? 

Mama Ines. My dear, you will find out soon enough 
for yourself that everything in life is either unpleasant, or 
else it comes too late. 

Mariana. God bless us! 

Mama Pepa. Pay no attention to what she says; it all 
depends upon the point of view. When the night is darkest, 
God sends the morning. Don't allow yourself to brood 
and mope. However bad things may be, they might be 
worse, or else we should not be here to see them. A 
chicken may be light-hearted and yet have a stone in its 
gizzard. 

Mariana. Do you know what the factory girls say? 
That I ought to pray for a sweetheart every day, because 
it's high time for me to have one. 

Mama Ines. What would you do with a sweetheart 
at your age? 

Mama Pepa. She could get married, like everybody 
else. 

Mariana. Of course! And then I could have lots of 
children. I mean to have ten at least, all boys, hard 
workers, strong, clever, fearless, brave, so that they can 
travel all over the world doing great and splendid things, 
and build roads and factories and houses and schools, and 
make laws and conduct revolutions. They will be strong 
as castles, every one of them. I believe that ten real men 
would prove the salvation of any country. [Discovering 



122 POOR JOHN 

her father, Don Carlos^ who enters.'] Father, how many 
ministers have we in the Spanish cabinet? 

Don Carlos. Such as they are, I believe there are 
eight. 

Mariana. Then I shall have two over. One can be 
a poet and the other a philosopher. And a grateful coun- 
try will erect a statue to my memory! 

Don Carlos. What is all this nonsense ? 

Mariana. Congratulate me. This is my birthday. I 
am of age — I am twenty. [Submitting to an embrace.] 
Aha! Are you sorry? You seem sad. [Sympathetically.] 
I know ... it is mother. 

Mama Pepa. Carlos, she looks more like my poor 
daughter every day. 

Don Carlos. Yes, she does. 

Mama Ines. Nothing of the sort! She is the living 
image of her father. 

Don Carlos. Omitting all his faults, let us hope. 

Mama Ines. There are no faults to omit. I don't 
say so because he is my son, but I wish you could have seen 
him when he was twenty-five. 

Mama Pepa. I wish you could have seen my daughter" 
when she was eighteen. 

Mariana. Well, all you have to do is to look at me. 
How dreadfully embarrassing it is to be such a beautiful 
girl! 

Mama Pepa. Thank Heaven, she is good-natured. 

Mama Ines. Yes, it is a family trait. 

Mama Pepa. Naturally. 

Mariana. [To her father.] Do look at all my pres- 
ents! The flowers are from the factory hands, the candies 
from the girls at the sewing-school, and the Sunday School 
children sent me this piece of lace. The cross is from 
Mama Pepa, and the rosary from Mama Ines, with real 
coral beads, so you see I have two really good grandmothers, 
as far as one can judge from their presents. What are 
you going to give me? 



POOR JOHN 123 

Don Carlos. Whatever you like. [Taking out his 
pocket-book.} 

Mariana. No, don't give me any money; I have more 
than I know what to do with. We started the sewing- 
school to help the poor girls along, but now we are all 
making our fortunes. I had nothing myself, yet we can 
scarcely keep up with the orders. The preserves that Mama 
Ines and I put up are a success, too, though we only be- 
gan because it was such a pity to throw the fruit away. 
We have had inquiries, even, from a shop in Madrid. 

Don Carlos. Name anything you wish. 

Mariana. I would if I dared. There is one thing — 
yes, I am going to ask for it. Now don't you say no! 
Promise not to be angry. It ... it ... it isn't for 
myself, but it is just the same, you know; it's for John. 

Don Carlos. For John? 

[Both old ladies cough. Mariana turns and glares 
at them.] 

Mariana. Yes, it's for John . . . that is, not exactly 
for him either, it's for his father. Don't you see? I 
told you that I didn't want money, but now that I come 
to think of it, it is money. At least it is something very 
like it. 

Don Carlos. Well, is it or is it not? 

Mariana. Don't be cross. No, it isn't money. 
Only I want you to go surety for them so that they won't 
lose their house. 

Don Carlos. Do you expect me to guarantee all the 
old Marquis's bad debts? 

Mariana. Why, papa! 

Don Carlos. Do you realize what it means to stand 
sponsor for a man of that character? 

Mariana. All they have left is the house, and now 
they are going to lose that for a miserable trifle which they 
borrowed of that skinflint. John's mother is sick, too, and 
John is worried about her. Poor John! I know that to 
be responsible for them — that is, for John's father — I sup- 



124 POOR JOHN 

pose though he can't help it; it's the way he is made. I 
tell you what to do. You buy the mortgage, and then they 
can owe the money to you. You will never put them out, 
so everybody will be satisfied. 

Don Carlos. You have strange ideas of business. 

Mariana. It isn't business, it's a birthday present. I 
am twenty — think of it, twenty! What wouldn't you give 
to be twenty again? And you are, don't you see, because 
I am, and whatever I am, is yours. Besides, I promise 
never to do it again. [Embracing himJl Oh, haven't I 
a rich and stingy father! Do say yes! Look me in the 
eye and say yes ! Say yes ! 

Don Carlos. Very well, to please you. [SmiUng.'\ 
But I don't want to hear any more about it. When John 
comes, send him to me, and we will talk it over; I shall 
have nothing to do with his father. Only I want you to 
understand that it is casting pearls before swine; they will 
be worse off by the end of the month. However, to please 
you — 

Mariana. Thanks, thanks, oh thanks! 

Don Carlos. Do not thank me, for I am doing it 
against my will. Enough for the present! 

Mariana. Where are you going? 

Don Carlos. Back to the factory. 

Mariana. How you do love to see people work! Re- 
member, be home on the stroke of twelve, because Mama 
Ines has promised us all sorts of good things, and if the rice 
is spoiled, we shall be lost. It will be a lovely surprise, too, 
for poor John ! 

[Don Carlos goes out.'] 

Mama Pepa. [Scornfully.'] Poor John! 

Mama Ines. Some day we are going to get sick of 
poor John. 

Mariana. Do you think so? 

Mama Ines. Before long we shall have him in the 
soup. 

Mariana. Nonsense ! 



POOR JOHN 125 

Mama Pepa. Mama Ines is right, my dear. I do not 
approve myself of a young lady of twenty keeping com- 
pany with a young gentleman of twenty-two. He follows 
you wherever you go. 

Mama Ines. I see nothing to object to in that. She 
and John were brought up together, almost like brother 
and sister. There is no harm in their going about. What 
I do not like is having the child take an interest in him which 
Is improper. 

Mama Pepa. I see nothing improper in that. It is 
the duty of those who have plenty to be generous with those 
who have not. What I am afraid of is that she may en- 
courage him to expect something else. 

Mama Ines. Nothing of the sort. He is as modest as 
a mallow and as good as God's bread. 

Mama Pepa. He may be as good for all I know, but 
he is a man, and men — 

Mama Ines. Do you think you can tell me anything 
about men, Mama Pepa? 

Mama Pepa. Probably not. You know it all already. 

Mama Ines. What am I to understand by that remark? 

Mariana. Come, come, don't be angry, you two dear 
grandmothers ! What if John is good ? Well, so much the 
better for him. What if I do love him? Hie loves me 
as much, at the very least. We have always been together, 
so nobody is surprised; it has become a habit. I help him 
whenever I can because I am rich and he is poor. Be- 
sides, everybody has somebody to look out for; you have me, 
and I have John. So I say God help us all! Here he 
comes as calm and placid as can be. 

Mama Ines. If he is coming, I am going. There is 
plenty to be done in the kitchen, and it behooves us all to 
roll up our sleeves. 

Mama Pepa. In that case, I had better run and feed 
the canaries. 

[Mama Ines and Mama Pepa go out.'] 

Mariana. [Laughing.] Enter the ogre. Poor John! 



126 POOR JOHN 

[John appears. He is a young man of winning per- 
sonality, distinguished in manner and faultless in dress, 
but evidently depressed and greatly cast down.^ 

John. May I . . . ? 

Mariana. Come in. 

John. [Advancing.'\ What were you laughing at? 

Mariana. My grandmothers are jealous of you. 

John. Your grandmothers hate the sight of me. 

Mariana. Mama Ines says that you are as good as 
God's bread. 

John. A polite way of intimating that a man is a fool. 

Mariana. Why do you look at me? 

John. You are entirely too lovely for this hour in the 
morning. 

Mariana. I am not as lovely as I was, for I am aging 
very rapidly. Don't you notice it? 

John. You? 

Mariana. Do you notice anything unusual in my face? 
Don't I seem serious? I am a year older at least than I 
was yesterday. 

John. A year older than you were yesterday? 

Mariana. Exactly. I was nineteen yesterday and I 
am twenty today. 

John. Well, \ am 2i fool! 

Mariana. [LaughingJ] I accept your congratulations. 

John. I am a blockhead, an idiot not to remember! 

Mariana. [Laughs.'\ 

John. Don't laugh. Why didn't you tell me yester- 
day? 

Mariana. So as to be able to remind you that you 
had forgotten today — as usual, of course. 

John. Mariana, you are not fair with me. 

Mariana. Of course not! But look at all the bonbons 
I have saved for you. Help yourself. Besides, I have good 
news. How is your mother? 

John. What do you expect? Her cough is worse, she 
is exhausted. Then, by some accident, she heard about the 



POOR JOHN 127 

house, although we intended to keep it from her. So now 
she has something else to worry over. She says that if we 
are compelled to give it up, it will kill her; she will die. 
That is all there is about it. 

Mariana. How does your father feel? 

John. Father says he will shoot himself. 

Mariana. He never will. 

John. I know, but mother believes iiim. Whatever 
he says, she takes literally. Mariana, we have lost our 
home. This is not living. I don't know what I should do 
if it were not for you. If it were not — 

Mariana. If it were not? 

John. If it were not for you, / might be the one who 
shot my-self. 

Mariana. You certainly are a brave man! 

John. How can you expect a man to be brave when 
he meets with nothing in life but misfortune? Everything 
has gone wrong with me since the day I was born. What- 
ever I put my hand to fails utterly. You know it better 
than I do. I was brought up to be rich, and I arrf poor. 
I studied law, and I can not string three words together. 
A man must be strong in that profession, he must have 
vigor of body and mind, yet I am all out of breath if I 
walk up a hill ; I have not the heart to crush even a fly. To 
save the little that remains to us after the folly of my 
father, I need to be unscrupulous and bold, yet my mother, 
God bless her, has taught me to be good, good, always good, 
like God's bread, as you have just heard from your grand- 
mother. 

Mariana. [Laughs.'\ 

John. Yes, laugh. I have a letter which I wish you 
would translate into English. You can help me. It will 
only be time wasted, but never mind. It is to some lord 
who is visiting the province in search of antiques — fabulous 
creatures, are they not? He might stop in at our house and 
offer us a handful of duros for the silver which still re- 
mains in the chapel. 



128 POOR JOHN 

Mariana. Do you mean to tell me that you would 
sell the chapel silver? 

John. Yes, and the genealogical tree that hangs in 
the drawing-room. I have an idea that it might be w^orth 
a iew pesetas. 

Mariana. Why, it vi^ould be like selling your name! 

John. My name? We would sell our souls, if Satan 
had not abandoned the practise of buying them. 

Mariana. Hush, you heretic! 

John. But I weary you with my troubles. 

Mariana. No, I was only thinking what a strange 
thing life is. Why is it that some people always have 
good luck, while others are always down? Everything al- 
ways turns out well with me. 

John. lEarnestly.] Because you deserve it. 

Mariana. Nobody deserves anything, because nobody 
chooses his disposition, or the place in life he is going to fill. 

John. Now you are the one who is talking heresy. 

Mariana. Then I am sorry, for it is the truth. What 
have I ever done to deserve anything? I have simply lived 
and have been happy, and that is the way I go on. I thank 
God again and again for all my happiness whenever I re- 
member how good He has been to me, but most of the 
time I forget even that. I do not believe that I have had 
one sorrow since the day I was born — I mean one real 
sorrow, that was my own. When my mother died, I was 
too young. Of course, I am sorry for other people who 
are unhappy, but all the while I am happy myself. I have 
never been ill. I never had any trouble with my lessons, like 
most children. Nobody ever found fault with me, and what- 
ever I do prospers. Yet all the while, I hear people com- 
plain. The times are hard, they say. So I suppose my 
good luck, which seems to me the most natural thing in 
the world, is nothing short of miraculous, and I begin to 
ask myself when I think it over: "Why is it, good God, 
why is it?" 






POOR JOHN 129 

John. Accept it and do not think it over. 

Mariana. Sometimes I am terribly provoked with you. 

John. Why? 

Mariana. Because you are so meek. Whatever happens, 
you resign yourself and submit to it ; you ask no questions, 
I believe that you walk through the world with your eyes 
shut, and that is why you bump your head against stone 
walls all the time. 

John. Please don't be angry with me. I cannot bear 
it. 

[He covers his face with his hands.'\ 

Mariana. Does your head ache? 

John. A little. 

Mariana. [^Drawing near.'\ You look pale. Have 
some coffee? 

John. No, I have drunk too much already. 

Mariana. Last night? I knew it. You sat up read' 
ing,/ How late was it before you went to bed? 

John. It was morning. Don't be angry with me. 
You were awake yourself. 

Mariana. I? Goodness gracious! 

John. There was a light burning in your room all 
night. 

Mariana. [Laughing.'\ Because I fell asleep so quickly 
that I didn't have time to put it out. What did you 
think? I rode to Robledo yesterday to see my cousins, and 
we played tennis, I don't know how long, and then we 
went rowing, so I was tired out when I came home. 
I am ashamed to tell you, but I never went to bed at all. 
I knelt down by the bed to say my prayers, and when I 
came to, it was morning. I fell asleep with the first 
Pater Noster. 

John. You must feel ill today. 

Mariana. Don't you believe it! My eyes were a little 
heavy at first, but a cold shower, and no one could ever 
have suspected it. 



\ 



130 POOR JOHN 

John. You are a cold shower, my dear girl, from head 
to heels, and a draught of health, outside and inside sun- 
shine and morning. I envy you, and how I love you! 

Mariana. How you say it! Come, we had better 
write that letter. You might dictate it in Spanish, al- 
though it will be a waste of time, now that I think of it. 
I told you that I had good news for you, and you haven't 
even asked me what it was. However, I remembered my 
own birthday, so I asked father for a present. You could 
never guess what he gave me — the mortgage! 

John. [Not comprehending. '\ The mortgage? 

Mariana. Yes, yours — your mortgage. Don't you re- 
member? The mortgage which is held by that man who 
threatened to foreclose and sell your house. My father 
is going to pay it off, whatever it is, and then you can 
owe it to him, just as you did to the other man, only 
father won't foreclose, so you can stay on and live in the 
house forever. [Greatly affected.^ And you won't have 
to sell the silver or the family tree either! 

John. Mariana! 

Mariana. Hurry and see father and you can fix every- 
thing. 

John. [Choking.'] Mariana! 

Mariana. Won't your mother be happy? 

John. Mariana! [Seizing both her hands.] You are 
the best woman in the world. Nobody else would ever 
have dreamed of siach a thing. Thank you, thank you! 
I can never thank you enough. Oh, Mariana, how it 
humiliates me, and how it makes me happy! Because it 
is charity, I know that it is charity, but blessed be the 
charity of your hands, of your heart, because it is yours, 
and blessed, too, be you yourself, a hundred thousand 
times! [Passionately.] You are my life, my soul! The 
only reason for my existence! 

Mariana. [Greatly surprised.] John! 

John. Yes, the only one. Didn't you know? The 



/ 






POOR JOHN 131 

only one! But of course you did. Say yes, you did, my 
own! 

Mariana. No, John, no. 

John. Yes, Mariana. 

Mariana. But, then — 

John. Yes, I love you, I adore you, I am mad over 
you, head over heels in love with you, lost irretriev- 
ably! 

Mariana. Don't say that! 

John. I have loved you all my life. 

Mariana. No, no! 

John. Didn't you know it? 

Mariana. I don't want to know it. 

John. Why not? 

Mariana. Because it is ridiculous — no, not exactly 
ridiculous, but it is a pity; I am awfully sorry. 

John. Do you mean that you do not love me? 

Mariana. [Somewhat more composed.^ No. Forgive 
me, John. I do love you. I love you very much, very, very 
much more than I love my father, more than I do my grand- 
mothers, but then — I don't love you. 

John. Mariana! 

Mariana. I love you more than anybody else in the 
world, but not like that — not like that. [She begins to 
cry.] 

John. Don't cry; you will break my heart. Do — do 
you love someone else? 

Mariana. No, nobody. Honestly, I don't love any- 
body. 

John. Then — 

Mariana. But I shall some day — I am going to love 
somebody. 

John. Whom? 

Mariana. I don't know. Whoever it is, somebody — 
not anybody, somebody. 

John. But why not me, Mariana? 

Mariana. Because I can't. I tell you, because I love 



\ 



132 POOR JOHN 

you so. I don't want you to say that I have deceived you. 

John. You must have a very poor opinion of me. 

Mariana. A poor opinion of you? You are the best 
man in the world. 

John. Must you say that, too? 

Mariana. It is true. 

John. It only makes it worse. 

Mariana. John, John! Lift up your head. Look at 
me, John! 

John. Is it possible? Can it be? 

Mariana. Why, did you think that I — 

John. I don't know. When I thought of it, it did 
seem incredible, with this miserable luck of mine, but I 
felt that you were so close to me, that you were so entirely 
my own — or that I was yours, I don't know which — and 
you were so good to me, so kind, so much the woman! 
All the happiness I have ever known in my life until now, 
has sprung from you — it may have been only a 
little, now and then, in small things, trifles, help, advice. 
It was presumptuous of me, Mariana, but I am 
so accustomed to relying upon you, that I imagined that 
the treasure was all mine. Besides, I love you so — I mean 
I need you so. Why should you not be all goodness, 
Mariana, and take me like a little child into your life, like 
a toy that you play with, or a dog of which you are fond? 
But let me be yours, all yours, because I love you! If 
you could love me only a little, I should be satisfied. 

Mariana. A little is not enough. To be husband and 
wife, if that is what you mean, we should have to love 
each other a great deal and in a different way. 

John. How? 

Mariana. I love you tremendously, you and every- 
thing that is yours, because it is yours — your mother, your 
house, yes, and your father, or, because — well, I would give 
my life to help you. If anybody said anything against 
you, I should knock him down. To save your family, 
I would starve. Even your name, your title which will 



POOR JOHN 133 

be yours very soon, seem to me so noble, so dignified — 
I don't know how to explain it, but I just don't want 
to marry you, because — because — you must not be angry, 
but I think I am cleverer than you are. 

John. You are a great deal cleverer than I. 

Mariana. No, 1 don't mean exactly cleverer; I am 
quicker than you are. 

John. No, you are cleverer and you are braver than 
I. Besides you are good and beautiful. I am nothing but 
a poor devil, an unlucky fellow! 

Mariana. No, you are not. You know a great deal 
more than I do. You know all about books and all about 
art. You are a handsomer man than I am a woman. I 
am crude. My hands are red and yours are white. Then, 
you are so fastidious, you have such good taste. If it 
had not been for you, I am sure that I should always 
have dressed like a gay masquerader. You amount to a 
great deal more than I do; there is more to you. 

John. Yet, although there is so much to me, I am 
not your ideal. 

Mariana. No, I have no ideal. Don't think that I 
am so romantic. 

John. Well, enough of this talk! What sort of man 
do you want for a husband? 

Mariana. I don't know. Wait and see. You alwaj^ 
lean on me when we walk out into the country — I always 
have to help you up the hills. Well, the man who is my 
husband will run up the hills and carry me along in his 
arms. 

John. I will do my best. 

Mariana. Hills are symbolic of so many things! 

John. Ah, me! 

Mariana. I simply cannot bear to make you unhappy 
— but I suppose I must; there is no escape. I should never 
dream of asking you to carry me; I feel that I was born 
to take care of you. When your head aches, I always 
wish it was mine. You are older than I am, but it seems 



134 POOR JOHN 

to me that you must be a great deal younger; I feel as if 
you were my child. 

John. Don't say that. 

Mariana. Why not? 

John. Because all this love of yours, which you say 
you feel, which is so great, so deep, is nothing but contempt 
— loathing and contempt. 

Mariana. No, it is not! 

John. Or pity, I don't know which is worse. 
[J brief pause. ^ 

Mariana. Oh, but I am so angry! 

John. Why? 

Mariana. To think that another woman hasn't done 
this to you, and then I could have consoled you afterward! 

John. No, Mariana, if another woman had made me 
suffer as you have because I loved her as I love you, even you 
could not have consoled me. 

Mariana. It would have been the first time. [Draw- 
ing nearer to him.] Don't be foolish, John; think 
it over, and control yourself. You don't love me as much 
as you think you do. If you had really been mad oveiJ 
me, you would have told me so before; you could never 
have remained silent through all these years. 

John. [Tenderly.] Don't talk nonsense. 

Mariana. Only you didn't know where else to turn 
to find one misfortune more. Now you can say that you 
have been unlucky even in love. How could two people 
love each other who have lived together all their lives 
like brother and sister? Love must come from outside, all 
of a sudden, from somewhere else — what is the matter? 
Don't you feel well? Are you ill? John, for Heaven's 
sake, don't take it like this! I'll have to say yes, if you 
do, out of pity, and then both of us will be unhappy — ^yes, 
both ! John ! John ! 

John. [Rising.] Never mind. It is over now. You 
are right, your children ought not to carry the poison of 



POOR JOHN 135 

a degenerate blood in their veins, they must not be born 
to the curse of a decaying, a contaminated race. You 
splendid woman, you are right to refuse a hand that is 
bloodless and cold. 

MARii4NA. How can you talk like that? 
John. Enough! Leave me — yes, I mean it. Then, 
you can come back. Leave me alone a moment, until I 
can collect myself, until I can persuade myself that today is 
to be again like yesterday — that nothing has taken place be- 
tween us. 

[She retires slovj'ly, looking back at him as she goes. 
When she reaches the top of the steps, she pauses, 

hesitating, before entering the house.^ 
Mariana. I am so sorry ! Poor John ! [Stamping hef 
foot.] But it is not my fault. What a pity! 

[She disappears into the house. John remains alone, 
seated, attempting to compose himself. A bell rings 
at the garden gate, but no one answers it. After a 
moment, it rings again. Presently, Antonio pushes 
the gate open and advances into the garden. He looks 
about, but discovers no one.] 
Antonio. Goodness gracious! The house must be en- 
chanted. 

[Falling back a little, better to look up at the faqade, 
he collides with the chair which is occupied by JoHN. 
John turns sharply in great annoyance.] 
John. Eh? What is this? 

Antonio. I beg your pardon. [Recognizing John.] 
John! 

John. [Staring at him for a moment in return.] 
Antonio ! 
Antonio. The very man! 
John. What are you doing here? 
Antonio. Come, come! Embrace me! 
John. But where did you drop from? 
Antonio. From your house. Where did you think? 



136 POOR JOHN 

John. From my house? I thought you were in 
America. 

Antonio. So I was, but you know a man can return 
from America — although it seems incredible. 

John. But what are you doing here? Have you lost 
anything? 

Antonio. Nothing to speak of, my son; my heart, that 
is all. And I have a presentiment that if I can find it 
here, I shall encounter eternal happiness as well. I stopped 
off to have a look at you by the way — pardon my insistence 
on my own affairs — I thought, perhaps, you might introduce 
me; I did not wish to enter paradise unannounced. 
Your friend is charming, my boy! And charming does not 
express it. She is beautiful, she is glorious, she is ir- 
resistable, she is unique! One woman among ten thousand! 
By the way, I don't suppose you happen to be engaged? 

John. Engaged? What makes you say that? Ex- 
plain yourself. Don't talk like an ass. 

Antonio. Are you always so good natured when you 
wake up from a nap? 

John. A nap? 

Antonio. You were asleep when I came in — now don't 
deny it. I rang the bell, I can't say how often. Then I 
called, I don't know how many times. Lucky devil! 

John. I? 

Antonio. Yes, to be able to sleep in immediate prox- 
imity to this marvel of the ages. But you are used to it 
— it is force of habit. O, Mariana, Mariana! 

John. What business have you with Mariana? 

Antonio. None, unfortunately, up to the present. 
I am mad over her. 

John. Absurd! 

Antonio. Do you suppose that all men are like you — 
incombustible? I saw her yesterday for the first time — 
now don't you laugh — and I cannot live another hour without 
her. How do you manage not to fall in love? You 
have lived near her all your life. 



POOR JOHN 137 

John. Well, perhaps that may be the reason. How 
can two people love each other who have lived together 
like brother and sister ever since they were children? 
Love must come from the outside, all of a sudden, from 
somewhere else — 

Antonio. Like lightning! That's a fact. That is the 
way it was with me. Didn't you notice when I came in 
that I had been struck by it? How can a man fall in love, 
my boy, in twenty-four hours — no, in less — in a night, 
lying awake, dreaming of her? She hasn't another sweet- 
heart, has she ? Pardon the question ; it interests me . . . 

John. No, none, whatever, but she is going to have 
one. 

Antonio. Who ? 

John. [With exceeding ill grace, annoyed.^ How do 
I know? — somebody, anybody. 

Antonio. Is that so? You seem to be pretty well ac- 
quainted, you are great friends, of course. What sort of 
person — you don't mind my asking these questions in con- 
fidence — what sort of person does she seem to prefer? 
If it is not too much trouble — 

John. No indeed! Don't consider me, anyhow. What 
do you care? 

Antonio. I knew you were a friend of mine. 

John. As you say. 

Antonio. This ideal which she has formed in her m'nd 
- — does it happen to present any resemblance to me? For 
if it does — 

John. Her ideal? Could you run up a hill with her 
in your arms? 

Antonio. And jump over the moon with her in them, 
and then back again, and run up to the top a second time 
without stopping to take breath! 

John. Well, that is just her ideal of a man. Good- 
bye and good luck! 

\_He goes out.'\ 

Antonio. John! Where are you going? One ma- 



I 



■BSS&SSSSSSiSSSBSB 



138 



POOR JOHN 




merit! Wait! What shall I do without you? I must be 
introduced. [The garden gate slams, causing the bell to 
ring violently. '\ What is the matter with him? Is it pos- 
sible that they can be engaged? No, or he would have 
said so, or else have knocked me over the head. I won- 
der — 

[Mariana appears at the top of the steps.'\ 

Mariana. John, John! Where are you? 

Antonio. He is not here, seiiorita, but I am — if I can 
be of service — 

Mariana. Oh! [She comes down the steps.'\ How 
do you do? 

Antonio. 
deed! 

Mariana 

Antonio. 



Pleasant morning, isn't it? Fine! Yes, in- 



Do you wish anything? 
Nothing. [Continuing, as she makes a ges- 
ture of surprise.^ Nothing, now that I have seen you. 
Mariana. [Laughing.'] Oh ! 

Don't you believe me? 
Naturally. 

But how can you take it so calmly? 
Surely you did not expect me to be greatly 



Antonio. 
Mariana. 
Antonio. 
Mariana. 
surprised ? 
Antonio. 
Mariana. 
Antonio. 
Mariana. 
Antonio. 
Mariana. 



Of course not; you are accustomed to it. 
To what? 

To admiration which is fervent. 
Nobody has ever killed himself for my sake. 
You do not know me. 

I remember — aren't you the man who passed 
on horseback yesterday afternoon, as I was standing at my 
cousin's gate? 

Antonio. Si, senora, I am the man. 
Mariana. Were you on the beach afterward when we 
finished playing tennis? 

Antonio. And after that I was on the float when you 
got out of the boat. Yes, indeed, I was there — at your 
service. 



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POOR JOHN 



139 



Mariana. You are a stranger here? 

Antonio. No, I was born here. 

Mariana. Then why did you stop at the gate to ask me 
the way? 

Antonio. I was anxious to learn whether your voice 
was as sweet as your face. 

Mariana. I never saw you until yesterday. 

Antonio. I have been five years in America, and home 
again only two weeks. 

Mariana. Where did you keep yourself before you 
went to America? 

Antonio. You have often seen me, although, perhaps, 
you may not remember it. 

Mariana. I wonder — yes. No! What is your name? 
Antonio Losada. 
Are vou Antonio Losada? With that 



Antonio. 

Mariana 
moustache ? 

Antonio. 
try for hair. 

Mariana, 
John? 

Antonio. Of course! We went to school together 
with the Escolapios, and we were suspended together at 
the University — that is, the first time. 

Mariana. 

Antonio. 

Mariana. 

Antonio. 
I do. 

Mariana. 

Antonio. 

Mariana. 

Antonio. 

Mariana. 

Antonio. 



you 

Yes, indeed. America is a wonderful coun- 
\^Laughing.'\ But then, of course, you know 



I remember. In Roman Law? 
No, Canon Law. 

But that wasn't the first time. 
Right again! You remember better than 



Poor John! 
Poor John! 

What makes you say "Poor John"? 
You said it first. 
I was not thinking. Poor John! 
Perhaps if you could forget him a little, and 
sympathize with me — 

Mariana. Oh! Are you in troublg? 



140 POOR JOHN 

Antonio. Terrible trouble. 

Mariana. Nobody would ever suspect it from your 
face. 

Antonio. No; it is more deeply seated ; there is nothing 
the matter with my face. 

Mariana. I hope it is not your heart. 

Antonio. It might be, for all you know. 

Mariana. Has it pained you very long? 

Antonio. Since the beginning of the world. 

Mariana. That is a very long time. 

Antonio. And not one day less. When God made 
ap his mind to create the universe, he jotted down in his 
note-book that I was predestined, after centuries and cen- 
luries had passed, to suffer torment because of two beauti- 
ful black eyes which I am gazing into now. 

Mariana. Very likely. Can't you ever be serious? 

Antonio. Very. Will you marry me? 

Mariana, Ave Maria! God bless us! You frighten 
me out of my wits. 

Antonio. Am I as unattractive as that? 

Mariana. [Looking at him.] No, I do not object to 
j'our looks. 

Antonio. Thanks. 

Mariana. Thanks for what? Besides, looks are of 
no importance anyway. 

Antonio. Certainly not. Would you mind telling me 
what is of importance? 

Mariana. Have you a cough? 

Antonio. No, I never cough. 

Mariana. Are you subject to headaches? 

Antonio. Yes, I had a headache once when I was a boy. 
Another boy cracked me on the head with a stone. 

Mariana. Oh, then you must be quarrelsome? 

Antonio. I am; fairly so — when I can't get what I 
want. 

Mariana. WTiat you want, or what you ought to get? 

Antonio. Will you tell me the difference? 



POOR JOHN 



141 



Mariana. 

Antonio. 
Mariana. 
Antonio. 
in your face. 
Mariana. 
Antonio. 
Mariana. 
Antonio. 



Don't you know? 
No. Neither do you. 

I? 
You always get what you want; I can see it 



Then you must be clairvoyant. 
Love sees at a distance; it penetrates. 
Not at all. Love is blind. 
That was in the old days; but now it has 
been operated upon, and we have removed the cataracts. 
Mariana. Only imagine the sights that that poor boy 
must see ! 

Antonio. Some of them very nice, no doubt, begin- 
ning with you. 

Mariana. But where will he leave ofT? 
Antonio. With you, too. After encircling the globe 
and seeing everything, he will come back to you. 
Mariana. After encircling the globe? 
Antonio. What do you say? Shall we go along? 
Mariana. I warn you that he would find me an ex- 
tremely disagreeable traveling companion. 
Antonio. In what way? 

I should expect too much of him. 
Expect it of me, then, and you will not be dis- 



Mariana. 
Antonio. 
appointed. 
Mariana. 
Antonio. 
Mariana. 



Never? 
Never. 
Suppose that what I have set my heart on 



proves difficult to get? 

Antonio. I will get it. 

Mariana. But suppose it does not exist? 

Antonio. I will invent it. 

Mariana. Suppose that it costs you your life to obtain 
it? 

Antonio. I shall give up my life, and then come straight 
back to life again, for you may be perfectly certain that 
I shall never leave the world as long as it contains you. 



142 POOR JOHN 

Mariana. Not even if I marry some one else? 

Antonio. John ? 

Mariana. No, I shall never marry John, but the man 
who marries me must take care of him and protect him, 
for I shall always have him around. You are not laughing 
at John? 

Antonio. By no means. 

Mariana. Because it is not safe to laugh at him. 
Wherever I go, he is coming along. Whatever I have, I 
mean to share it with him; my house shall be his house, 
and whenever he calls, I shall rush to his side. 

Antonio. Yet the man complains of his fate! 

Mariana. He is a privileged person. Besides, I don't 
want you to be jealous. You must not be ridiculous. John 
is John. 

Antonio. From this hour forth evermore. Anything 
else? 

Mariana. If I marry — 

Antonio. If you marry! 

Mariana. I must have ten children, all boys. 

Antonio. [Js a matter of course. '\ Anything else? 

Mariana. I thought perhaps that might be enough. 

Antonio. Why not add a couple of girls while we are 
about it, if it is not inconvenient, so that the breed of 
valiant women shall not become extinct? 

Mariana. Are you laughing at me? 

Antonio. No, only I think we had better hurry. We 
are wasting valuable time. 

Mariana. I don't know. What are you doing? 

Antonio. Loving you madly, passionately. I have 
been doing nothing else since yesterday, at eight o'clock in 
the morning. 

Mariana. I mean, what are you doing for a living? 

Antonio. Why not do anything that happens along? 
Don't you think that with courage and a little luck, pretty 
nearly anything would do? 



POOR JOHN 143 

Mariana. Yes, but — 

Antonio. In America, my dear, I did a little of every- 
thing; I grew tobacco, I canned meat, I raised cane. 

Mariana. How perfectly dreadful! I am sure you 
must have thrown your money away. 

Antonio. Dreadful? It was fine! I made lots of 
it. 

Mariana. You must be very rich, then. 

Antonio. No, I enjoyed life as I went along. I shall 
be rich, however, when I marry you. 

Mariana. Do you plan to turn miser at my expense, 
when it is your duty to support me? 

Antonio. Not miser, precisely; although we shall 
need to be economical if we are to provide for the boys. 

Mariana. [Lauffhinff.li When do you expect to re- 
turn to America? 

Antonio. I expect to return — when, I don't know. 
As I shall not sail without you, perhaps I shall remain 
ashore. 

Mariana. I hope you don't think that I am afraid of 
the water? 

Antonio. You? No, indeed! But John might be 
sea-sick. 

Mariana. [Lauffhinff.l You are a real man. [Hold- 
ing out h^r h'and.^ 

Antonio. [Kissing it.'\ And you are an angel! 

Mariana. So you think now. 

Antonio. Yes ... I'll see you later. 
[Shouts and confusion outside.] 

Voices. No, no! Here — not that way! 

Mariana. What has happened? 

[Mama Ines and Mama Pepa rush in from the 
gallery, greatly agitated, followed by two servants. 
Don Carlos and a grourp of factory hands enter simul- 
taneously at the garden gate. They carry John in 
their arms, covering him up with a poncho which 



144 POOR JOHN 

conceals him from view almost completely. They lay him 

down upon the chaise longue, where Mariana and the 

other women surround him. Meanwhile the dialogue 

proceeds with great rapidity, almost all speaking at the 

same time.'\ 

Don Carlos. This way! This way! In here. . . . 

Mama Ines. John! 

Mama Pepa. John! 

Mariana. Why, John! 

Mama Ines. God bless us! An accident? 

Mariana. John! John! Can't you speak? Look at 
me! What have you done? What is the matte*? Can't 
you answer? 

Don Carlos. He is unconscious, my dear. He is not 
able to talk. 

Mama Ines. Mercy on us! A terrible calamity! 

Mama Pepa. He was a fine young man. 

A Maid. Oh, he was lovely! 

Second Maid. He was so handsome! 

Don Carlos. Ladies, he is not dead yet. 

Mama Ines. But he is going to die. 

Mama Pepa, Nothing of the sort, unless his time has 
come — which may be now. 

First Maid. He has opened his eyes. 

Mama Ines. Quick! Run for a cup of hot broth. 

Antonio. I should suggest a nip of cognac. 

Mama Ines Give him a warm punch, 

Mariana. [At the table.'] Yes, strike a match. 

Mama Pepa. [To one of the maids.] Bring some 
rum. 

Mama Ines. But how did it happen? Why don't you 
tell us? 

First Factory Hand. It was nothing much. He was 
walking up along the edge of the cliff, and he toppled over 
into the sea. That's all. 

Second Factory Hand. He didn't fall, I tell you; I 
saw him jump. 



POOR JOHN 145 

Mama Pepa and Mama Ines. God have mercy on ouf 
souls! 

First Factory Hand. I tell you I saw him topple off 
the edge of the cliff. 

Second Factory Hand. I tell you I saw him jump. 
How could he fall when the track there is wide enough for 
a team ? 

First Factory Hand. He got dizzy. 

Mariana. Yes, but who pulled him out of the water? 

First Factory Hand. Nobody, because he fell plop 
into Little John's boat, which was tied up there below the 
rock, waiting to catch lobsters. 

Mama Pepa. Praise God and bless His Holy Name I 

Mama Ines. If he isn't drowned, then what on earth 
is the matter with him? 

First Factory Hand. He fell fifty feet, lady, which 
is plenty to give a man a bit of shock. 

First Maid. [Entering.] The punch! 

Mariana. Give it to me. [She goes up to John and 
forces the punch into his mouth.] Drink thi»! Here, 
more, more. Do you feel very badly? [John coughs.] 
He coughs — naturally, after the wetting. 

John. [Faintly.] No, I didn't get wet. The water 
splashed into the boat ; it tipped a little when I came down, 
that was all. I am all right now, thanks; don't worry. 
Forgive me — 

Mama Ines. You did give us a nice fright! 

Don Carlos. Everybody pass into the house and take 
something. [To Mama Pepa.] See what you can do. 

Mama Pepa. Come with me. 

First Factory Hand. [To John.] All right, son. 
Glad it wasn't any worse. 

Second Factory Hand. Better luck next time.. 

[All pass into the house except Mariana, Antonio 
and John.] 

Mariana. [In a low voice.] Did — did you really 
commit suicide? 



146 POOR JOHN 

John. Yes, really. And even then I had bad luck. 

Mariana. A nice way to celebrate my birthday, mak- 
ing it as unpleasant for me as you can! 

John. I am sorry, but the temptation to leave this 
scurvy w^orld was too strong. 

Mariana. Promise never to do it again! 

John. What good would it do if I did ? 

Antonio. [Jdvancing sympathetically J] Well, well, 
man ! What was the trouble ? 

Mariana-. Nothing. He was walking along the edge 
of the cliff, and grew dizzy. 

John. \^To Antonio.] What! You here yet? 

Antonio. Yes, indeed ! No sooner were you out of the 
way, than she appeared, so I — 

Mariana. Exactly. I appeared, so he — 

John. Say no more! It was foreordained. 

Mariana. Yes, he dropped from the clouds, as it were. 

John. \^Forcing a smile.} When — when is the happy 
day? 

Antonio. Whenever she fixes the date. 

Mariana. Oh, there is no hurry. 

Antonio. No hurry? 

Mariana. We have so much to do before we sail. 

John. Sail? 

Mariana. Yes, Antonio feels that we must return to 
America. 

Antonio. But you are coming along. 

John. I ? 

Antonio. Yes. You are to be godfather to the first 
of our ten. We are planning to christen him John. 

Mariana. That is if, as we hope — 

John. No, no, never! Impossible! . . . 

Mariana. What makes you think so? 

John. Because if he inherits my luck with my name, 
the poor wretch will not be able even to drown. Besides, 
when things go wrong with him, I don't want to hear 
you saying forever: "Poor John!" 



POOR JOHN 147 

Mariana. No, and we ought not to say it to you 
either. [Moving away unconsciously.^ Poor John! 
Antonio. Poor John ! 

Curtain 



MADAME PEPITA 

COMEDY IN THREE ACTS 

TEATRO DE LA COMEDIA, MADRID 
1912 

THE PLAYHOUSE, OXFORD 
1924 



TO RICARDO LEON 



CHARACTERS 

Madame Pepita^ aged 38. 
Catalina, aged 17. 
Galatea^ aged 2$ 
Carmen^ aged 28. 
Cristina, aged 16. 
A Sewing Girl, aged 20. 
Don Guillermo, aged 40c 
Alberto, aged 22. 
Don Luis, aged 55. 
AuGUSTO, aged 25. 
Andres, aged 30, 



ACT I 

Reception salon in the establishment of Madame Pepita, 
a fashionable dressmaker. The room is elaborately fitted 
out with gold furniture, upholstered in silk, but too elabo- 
rate for good taste. In the centre and at the right, small 
tables strewn with fashion magazines, colored plates of 
French and Viennese models and samples of materials such 
as wholesale houses supply to dressmakers. A large three 
panelled mirror, in front of a pier glass reaching to the 
floor, points to the fact that, on busy days, the salon is 
pressed into service as a fitting room also. One or two 
smart hats hang about on high stands; almost in the centre 
of the stage is a dress-form, on which is draped an elabo- 
rate evening gown. 

At the rise of the curtain. Carmen^ one of Madame 
Pepita's fitters, is kneeling before the form, pinning a de- 
sign of flowers and foliage on the gown. She pauses every 
now and then to compare the result with the fashion plate 
which she takes from the floor at her side, in order to 
examine it more closely. Cristina stands near by, hand- 
ing her pins from a small box, besides flowers and buds 
from a large carton which is placed on a chair. 

Carmen^ a smart looking young person of the type 
employed in the better dressmaking establishments of Ma- 
drid, wears a black frock set off with a small white apron. 
Her shoes are neat and her hair and general appearance 
faultlessly correct. 

Cristina, an apprentice, still in short skirts, is well- 
groomed and smart. Both girls speak with the easy sophis- 
tication of the capital, but without marked vulgarity. 

Carmen. Give me a pin, a rose, a Bud . . . quick! 

153 



154 MADAME PEPITA [ACT /] 

Cristina. You're not in any hurry, are you? 
Carmen. Well, you'll see what will happen if the 
Snapdragon appears upon the scene, and this dress isn't 
finished. 

[Catalina^ a girl of seventeen, enters, innocent and 
attractive in appearance. She is horribly dressed, and 
her hair is done frightfully. Although her clothes 
are well cut and of good material, her skirt is on 
crooked and dips down on one side, her blouse gapes 
where it fastens, and her apron, which is made of lace 
and batiste of excellent quality, is decorated with a 
huge ink spot. Her skirt is neither long nor short, 
while her hair hangs loose, except for a large bow tied 
where it does the least good. In moments of abstrac- 
tion, she bites her nails furiously. In one hand she 
carries a book. Her conversation is that of a spoiled 
child who is aware of her importance as daughter of 
the head of the establishment.^ 
Catalina. [Entering, overhearing Carmen's last 
words.} See here, you needn't call my mother the Snap- 
dragon. She has a name, like everybody else. 

Carmen. Dearie, you're a sweet ghost — you always 
appear when you're not wanted. 

Catalina. Whether I'm wanted or not, is none of your 
business. 

Carmen. Excuse me, dearie. 

Catalina. [Walking over and seating herself in an 
armchair. '^ You needn't excuse yourself, but be a little 
careful what you say; I'm here. [Cuddling herself down 
into the chair like a cat.} And I'm not as silly as you 
think. 

[She opens the book and begins to read to herself, 
evidently with great difficulty i\ 
Carmen. [Under her breath.] Little Miss-Know-It- 
AU is not as silly as you think. 

Catalina, [Turning quickly.} See here! You 



[JCT /] MADAME PEPITA 155 

needn't call me Little-Miss-Know-It-All. I've got a name, 
like everybody else. 

Carmen. What you've got is a consumptive's quick 
ear. 

Catalina. [Much offended.^ Consumptive yourself. 

Cristina. [Interveninff.] Ah, now, don't be cross. It 
was only a joke. 

Catalina. [Immediately appeased.] That's all right, 
but be a little careful with your jokes. My name is 
Catalina, I'll have you know, and my mother is not the 
Snapdragon, she's the Senora, the head of this establish- 
ment. 

Carmen. [Maliciously*'] The madam. 

Catalina. No, sir, not the madam — Madame Pepita, 
which is very different. [Insistiitff.] Madame. Pepita, 
Madame Pepita! 

Carmen. We heard you, dearie. [Maliciously.] Well, 
then, if Madame Pepita comes in and this trimming isn't 
finished, [Emphasizing every word.] the head of this 
establishment is going to create a disturbance that will 
make a hurricane seem tame. 

Catalina. And quite right, too, because you're lazy 
things, all of you. 

Carmen. Wise talk, eh, from the pet of the house? 

Cristina. Why don't you turn in and help? 

Catalina. [Scornfully.] I? You've got cheek. 
[Turning her back, she begins to read again j applying her- 
self laboriously, pronouncing each syllable as children do 
when they learn.] "The hu-man bod-y con-sists of three 
parts: head, trunk, and ex-trem-i-ties," [Repeating, 
without looking at the book] "The human body consists 
of three . . ." 

[A bell rings at the entrance, which is at the head 
of the stairs.] 

Carmen. [To Cristina.] Look and see who is com- 
ing. The doorbell rang. 



156 MADAME PEPITA [ACT I] 

CrisTINA. [Glancing toward the door upon the right.} 
It's the boy from the silk shop. 

[Alberto appears in the doorway. He is a youth 

of twenty-two, unusually well-educated, of good family, 

whom reverses have obliged to seek employment as 

clerk in "La Sultana," silk, lace and haberdashery shop. 

He dresses plainly but respectably, and displays the 

excessive timidity of a person who feels himself above 

his position. He is delivering a number of large boxes 

containing laces."} 

Alberto. [^Hesitating before he enters.} May I? 

With your permission ... I beg your pardon . . . [The 

two girls do not answer, as they are busy laughing.} Good 

morning. . . . 

Catalina. [Raising her eyes from her book, instantly 
attracted by the young man. As the scene progresses, little 
by little her attitude alters from sympathy to admiration. 
The actress should mark the transition simply and ingenu- 
ously, as the girl's innocence does not permit her to realize 
its significance.} Good morning. Did you wish anything? 
Alberto. [Advancing a few steps, smiling timidly.} 
Here are the laces from "La Sultana," so that you may 
select what is required. 

Carmen. Very well, you may leave them and return a 
little later. 

Alberto. [Timidly.} But . . . pardon me. The pro- 
prietor wishes me to bring back what you do not desire. 
When all the laces are here, and ladies call at the shop, 
naturally we have nothing to show. 

Carmen. Well, madame has a fitting at present; she 
has no time to make selections now. 

Cristina. The idea! You wouldn't refuse to oblige 
a lady, would you, just because your employer tells you to? 
Alberto. No, indeed! I shall retire, then, with your 
permission, and return later. 

[Backing awkwardly toward the door, in his em- 
barrassment he collides with a chair, which, in falling, 



[ACT I] MADAME PEPITA 157 

carries with it a table loaded with fashion plates, 
both crashing down together. Greatly disconcerted, 
Alberto attempts to gather up the scattered papers, 
becomes entangled, proceeds to extricate himself, finally 
almost falling in his turn. The two girls burst out 
laughing, while Catalina rushes toward him with a 
cry.] 
Catalina. {Hurrying to Alberto.] Oh! Did you 
hurt yourself? 

Alberto. [Smiling, in spite of his confusion, but look- 
ing askance at the two girls, who are still laughing.^ No, 
senorita. Thank you very much. 

Catalina. Won't you let me get you a glass of cold 
water ? 

Alberto. Oh, no, senorita! It is quite unnecessary. 

[The girls continue to laugh.'\ 
Catalina. [Turning to the girls.^ I don't see what 
you are laughing at. 

Carmen. Can't we laugh if we feel like it? 
Catalina. Not when there's nothing to laugh at. 
Alberto. Never mind, senorita, they are laughing at 
me. When a man trips, it invariably amuses the ladies. 
I suppose it seems only natural. 

Cristina. Yes, we can't teach you anything. 
Catalina. [To Alberto, confidentially.'] They're 
stupid things, both of them. 

Alberto. [Gratefully. 1 You are an angel, senorita. 
Catalina. [Drawing away, half shyly, half surprised.] 
Am I? 

[During this episode, the girls have returned to their 
task of trimming the gown. Carmen, kneeling on the 
floor, leans backward better to sense the effect, and 
presently makes a gesture of dissatisfaction.] 
Carmen. This can't be right. 

Cristina. I don't think so, either. It's too broad; 
there's too much of it. 

Carmen. [Rising and taking the sketch in her hand.] 



158 MADAME PEPITA [ACT 7] 

Well, it is exactly like the drawing, and that is awfully 
smart. I don't know what it is. 

Alberto. [Interrupting.'] Pardon me — [Snatching the 
sketch from Carmen, who looks up, astonished.] The 
lines of this model were designed for the ideal woman, a 
woman with a figure built on Gothic lines. [His self- 
assurance now offers a striking contrast to his former em- 
barrassment.] 

All. What? 

Alberto. [Smiling, looking from one to the other, as 
if making a demonstration in mathematics.] I mean to 
say that she has very long legs. 

Carmen. Say, now! 

Alberto. I am sure of it. [Estimating the height of 
the plate with his eye, and measuring it off with one finger, 
as painters do.] One, two, three. . . . We have exactly 
eight heads. 

Cristina. Eight heads? 

Alberto. [Smiling pleasantly.] Yes, senorita, that is, 
in total height; and the lady for whom you are making 
this gown must be only — [Glancing at the dress-form.] 
Let me see. One . . . two . . . three ... we may give 
her five and a half. [With perfect assurance.] 

Cristina. Five and a half? Heads? 

Carmen. [Sarcastically.] Five and a half heads ought 
to seem a lot to you. 

Alberto. [Intensely serious.] No, not at all. Five 
and a half are not nearly enough. The ideally proportioned 
figure has a total height of seven heads — that is the Greek 
type in all its purity and elegance. French and Viennese 
models always exaggerate somewhat, but Spanish women, 
particularly here in Madrid, are rather Romanesque in con- 
tour, like — like you, senorita. [To Cristina.] 

Carmen. [Laughs.] 

Cristina. [Offended.] Like me? 

Alberto. Don't be offended. I mean wide and thick. 
So, when we attempt to adapt the ideal lines of the model 



[ACT 7] MADAME PEPITA 159 

to the shapes which we actually see, the result is ridiculous. 
[Waxinff eloquent, as he studies the garment.^ Three 
parallel rows of trimming on a short skirt? Horrible! 
And the pity of it is that just as long as women neglect 
to study the divine mysteries of line, they will continue to 
go about looking as if their worst enemies had designed 
their clothes. It breaks a man's heart to go out for a 
walk and meet masterpieces of the Creator transformed 
into monstrosities by the sacrilegious, criminal hands of 
tailors and dressmakers. 

Cristina. [Laughs.] 

Carmen. [Half amused, half angry.l What was that 
about tailors and dressmakers? 

Alberto. [Recollecting himself, his customary timidity 
returning as he realizes what he has said.] Please excuse 
me. I wasn't thinking of you. 

Catalina. [Who has been listening in openmouthed 
admiration.] But who are you? How do you know so 
much? 

Alberto. I am nobody, senorita; I amount to nothing. 
Only I draw a little, I sketch, and I hope to become a 
painter, some day. In the meantime, I am working in 
"La Sultana," silk, lace and haberdashery shop. I shall re- 
tire, now, with your permission, ladies. . . . 

[Goes out. A moment of astonished silence fol- 
lows.] 

Carmen. [Laughing.] What do you think of that? 

Cristina. He's a scream. 

Catalina. [Earnestly.] I don't see what makes you 
call him a scream. I think he's awfully nice and attrac- 
tive. 

Carmen. Ahem! Attractive and everything else. So 
Don Simplicity has turned your head, has he? 

Catalina, [Almost in tears.] I don't see what makes 
you call him Don Simplicity. He's got a name, like every- 
body else. 

Carmen. But we don't know his name. 



i6o MADAME PEPITA [ACT /] 

Cristina. Yes, we do; it's Alberto. 

Catalina. [To herself.] Alberto? What a nice 
name! [Madame Pepita is heard talking outside.'] Oh, 
here comes mamma! 

Carmen. [Resuming work precipitately.] Good-bye 
my wages! [To Cristina.] Give me another pin. 

Madame Pepita. [Outside.] Yes, yes! I tell you, 



yes 



A Sewing Girl. [Outside.] But, Madame — 

[Madame Pepita enters. She is still a fine look- 
ing woman. Her tailored suit is strictly in the mode, 
and her coiffure arranged with extreme care. She 
carries an elaborately trimmed sleeve in one hand, 
talking and gesticulating immoderately as she enters, 
evidently in great annoyance. At the same time, she 
is careful to maintain a noticeable affectation of refine- 
ment. The Sewing Girl follows deferentially.] 
Madame Pepita. There is no "but" about it. I tell 
you the sleeve is a botch, and a botch it is. You'll rip 
it this very minute, and baste if over again and say noth- 
ing, and if that doesn't suit you, you can go. The idea of 
a little monkey like you presuming to differ with me in 
a matter of taste! 

Sewing Girl. But I didn't say anything. 
Madame Pepita. So much the better! Here, take 
your sleeve. [Throws it at the girl, who catches it.] 
The thing's a nightmare — it's about as chic as you are. 
To think I pay this girl six pesetas a week! 

Sewing Girl. [Between her teeth, as she goes out.] 
Any one who stands you ought to be paid six hundred. 

Catalina. [Going up to Madame Pepita.] Mamma, 
do you hear what she says? She says any one who stands 
you ought to be paid six hundred. 

Madame Pepita. [Brusquely.] Is that your business? 

Catalina. [Completely cowed.] Oh! 

Madame Pepita. [Approaching Carmen and Cris- 



[ACT I] MADAME PEPITA i6i 

iina.l What are you doing? Wasting time — as usual? 
Why aren't you in the workroom? 

Carmen. We were finishing this gown for exhibition. 

Madame Fepita. [Examining the model through her 
lorgnette, which is attached to an extravagantly bejewelled 
chain.] And a sweet exhibition it is! 

Carmen. Don't you like it ? 

Madame Pepita. It might do for the patron saint 
of your village, which is in the back country — way back, if 
one is to judge by the taste. 

Carmen. I was born in Madrid, the same as you. 

Madame Pepita. Then, my dear, your taste is bad 
naturally. 

Carmen. It's an exact copy of the model as you- ordered. 
Won't you look? 

[Hands her the sketch. Madame Pepita examines 
the gown and the model alternately through her lorg- 
nette.] 

Catalina. [Breaking in, eagerly, perfectly sure of her- 
self.] But the model was designed for a woman built on 
Gothic lines. 

Madame Pepita. [Looking at her daughter, alarmed.] 
What's that? 

Catalina. [Positively.] Of course! And the lady 
who ordered this is Romanesque. 

Madame Pepita. What are you talking about? 

Catalina. Yes, Romanesque. She has only seven 
heads, and to be true to type, with perfect proportion, you 
must have. . . . [Stops to think.] Oh, a great many 
more — I don't know just how many; and if you put three 
rows of trimming on a short skirt, why, the woman who 
wears it will go around looking like a Greek monstrosity 
whose worst enemy has made her clothes. There! Just 
see if I'm not right. [Breaks off suddenly.] 

Madame Pepita. [Alarmed.] Child, have you a tem- 
perature? Come here, let me see. 



i62 MADAME PEPITA [ACT I] 

Catalina. No, mamma! 

Carmen and Cristina. [Lauffh.l 

Madame Pepita. {AngrilyJ] What are you laughing 
at? 

Cristina. [Intimidated.'] Nothing, Madame. 

Carmen. We just heard all that rigmarole from the 
boy from "La Sultana." 

Madame Pepita. Has the boy from "La Sultana" been 
here? 

Carmen. With the laces. 

Madame Pepita. The same boy? 

Carmen. No, another one, Madame. 

Madame Pepita. Did you tell him that he was no 
good and that the proprietor is a cheat and an extortioner? 

Carmen. [Smiling.] No, Madame. 

Madame Pepita. You missed a fine opportunity. I'll 
tell him when I see him. 

Catalina. [Aroused.] No, don't you do it, mamma. 

Madame Pepita. [Brusquely.] Is that your business? 

Catalina. [Moving off, suppressed.] Oh! 

Carmen. [Pointing to the dress-form.] What shall 
we do with this? 

Madame Pepita. Take it to pieces and pin it together 
all over again. But not here. People will be coming 
soon, and the whole place is a mess. Carry it into the 
workroom — I'll be there in a minute. Get out of my 
sight ! 

Carmen. [With her tongue in her cheek.] Yes, 
Madame. [Picking up the form with Cristina's help and 
carrying it out, muttering between her teeth as she does 
so.] With the greatest of pleasure. 

Catalina. [Approaching her mother.] Mamma, she 
says "With the greatest of pleasure." 

Madame Pepita. [Brusquely.] Is that your business? 

Catalina. [Intimidated.] Oh 1 

Madame Pepita. What are you doing here? Idling? 

Catalina. No, Mamma, I am studying. 



[ACT /] MADAME PEPITA 163 

Madame P:epita. Is that so? Let me see that book. 
Is it a novel? 

Catalina. [^Protesting.'] No, mamma, it's a book Don 
Guillermo lent me — don't you know? The gentleman on 
the floor above. It is, really — if you want to see it. [Giv- 
ing her the book.] 

Madame Pepita. [Turning the pages.] Heavens and 
earth! What's this? A skeleton? 

Catalina. [As pleased as a child.] Yes, mamma. It's 
a book that tells how many bones we have and how we 
are made, inside and out. 

Madame Pepita. Eh? 

Catalina. [Continuing.] And what everything inside 
us is for. [Reciting.] "The human body consists of three 
parts: head, trunk" — 

Madame Pepita. [Interrupting, scandalized.] Hush, 
hush! That's immoral! Throw the book away this 
minute. Such things are only for men to know. No decent 
woman has any occasion to study her insides. 

Catalina. [Innocently.] Oh, yes, mamma, she has. 
Don Guillermo says that women are just the ones who 
ought to know, so that when they grow up and become 
mothers, they can nurse their own children, as God in- 
tended. 

Madame Pepita. [Sincerely shocked.] The man's a 
satyr! 

Catalina. [Innocently.] Oh, no, mamma, you mustn't 
say that! He writes articles for the papers, and he's a 
member of the Academy. 

Madame Pepita. [Softening, as if by magic] A mem- 
ber of the Academy! Who told you so? 

Catalina. The janitor's wife. She saw it on his let- 
ters, and it's on the papers, too, that come to him from the 
printers: Don Guillermo de Armendariz y Ochoa, of the 
Royal Academy of Fine Arts, yes, mamma. Besides, he's 
awfully nice and awfully sweet to me, and he has his 
rooms all stufFed full of big pieces of stone and statues 



i64 MADAME PEPITA [ACT I] 

that haven't any heads, and whenever he meets me on the 
stairs he always stops to talk to me, and he's told me he'll 
lend me books so that I can learn something, because he 
thinks it's a great pity that I am such a big girl and such 
an ignoramus, and he asked why didn't you send me to 
school when I was little, and I told him that you didn't 
want me to associate with common children, and he says 
that it is better to be common than to be ignorant, and 
that's true, isn't it, mamma? 

Madame Pepita. [Abstracted, impressed.^ A mem- 
ber of the Academy ? 

Catalina. [Enthusiastically. "^ Yes, mamma. And the 
other day he had his picture in the Nuevo Mundo with the 
King and Queen. 

Madame Pepita. With the King? 

Catalina. Yes, mamma, at the opening of the picture 
exhibition; he was there to receive them and explain every- 
thing, so that they could tell which were the good pictures 
and which were the bad ones. You can see them all here 
for yourself. [Producing a copy of the Nuevo Mundo, 
which is concealed among the fashion plates.^ He has 
medals all over, and wears a sash. 

Madame Pepita. [Impressed.'] Probably the Order 
of Carlos III, or maybe he's Maria Luisa. [Mollified, 
gazing at the photograph.] How attractive a man does 
look when he's decorated! 

[The doorbell rings, after which Carmen's voice 
is heard outside.] 

Carmen. [Outside.] Yes, Seiior Conde. Will the 
Conde step in? I'll tell Madame. [Appearing in the door- 
way, and discovering Madame Pepita.] Oh, here is 
Madame Pepita! Madame, the Conde de la Vega de 
Lezo. 

Madame Pepita. [Suddenly becoming sweeter than 
honey.] Conde! Come in, come right in. [Giving her 
daughter a hasty push.] Go and dress yourself! Don't 
stand there in the middle of the room — you're a sight. 



[ACT /] MADAME PEPITA 165 

Catalina. [Cowed.^ Oh! [Runs outj escaping by 
one door as the Conde enters by the other.^ 

[Don Luis de Lara, Conde de la Vega de Lezo, 
though but fifty-five, is in appearance much older, love, 
wine and other excesses having undermined his health 
prematurely. Nevertheless, he still affects the airs 
and graces of the beau, which contrast lamentably with 
the general decay of his person. He dresses with un- 
due pretense to fashion, carrying himself gallantly 
in the grand style, although his gestures and poses are 
marred for the most part by his premature senility. 
He wabbles and totters and bends forward unex- 
pectedly, which causes him the keenest annoyance. 
Kissing the girl who, opens the door as he enters, he 
appears to be dispensing a favor. The girl receives 
the salute with ill-concealed disgust, wiping her face 
with her apron as soon as the Conde's back is turned. 
Then she goes out.^ 
Don Luis. My dearest Pepita! 

Madame Pepita. I was afraid the Conde had forgotten 
us. It is three months since we have seen you. 

Don Luis. Oh, my dear, I have been traveling — troubles 
and worries without number! I have not been well. 
Madame Pepita. The Conde has been ill? 
Don Luis. Yes, mental anguish, moral suffering; that 
is all. Society is in bad case, Pepita; the aristocracy has 
degenerated. Money is replacing blue blood nowadays, and 
it is prejudiced against the nobility. Poverty devours our 
vellum riches. We are nobodies. 

Madame Pepita. Oh, don't say that, Conde! Money 
cannot purchase blue blood. 

Don Luis. [Sighing.'\ No, blue blood cannot be 
bought, nor sold either, for that matter. 
Madame Pepita. Be seated, Conde. 
Don Luis. Ah, Pepita, who would believe that your 
dear, departed mother had lived in our house, that she had 
acted as maid to my departed wife? 



1 66 MADAME PEPITA [ACT I] 

Madame Pepita. [Unduly affected.'\ Your poor wife! 

Don Luis. Yes, you were born in our house, brought up 
under the protection of my wing. [Looking about the 
room.^ But, today, you travel the road to riches, while 
I. . . . 

Madame Pepita. [Countering promptly.'] Conde, I 
have troubles of my own. Believe me! 

Don Luis. Come, come, don't tell me you'll ever hang 
for want of a couple of thousand pesetas. 

Madame Pepita. Conde, what put that idea in your 
head? A dressmaker invests her entire capital in clothes. 
These gowns cost me a fortune, and just as soon as the 
style changes, nobody will look at them. Then, I have to 
pay wages to no end of girls, and, finally, there are the 
customers. They grow meaner and meaner every day. 
Even the actresses and the demi-mondaines, who only a 
little while ago never dreamed of questioning the price of 
anything, would you believe it — nowadays the way they 
scrutinize their bills is something shameful. They know 
what everything, down to a yard of satin, costs. Why, 
Conde, I had a lady here the other day, the wife of a cabi- 
net minister — I'd rather not mention her name — ^who in- 
sisted upon supplying her own trimming for a court cos- 
tume. Fancy! Trimming! Tome! [Greatly outraged.] 
What next, I wonder? She said the lace was antique, it 
had a history. I thought to myself, it's antique all right. 
As for the history, there's plenty of that that's not so 
antique, in which your husband figures conspicuously. 

Don Luis. It is the way of the world, Pepita. 

Madame Pepita. Dressmaking is not what it used to 
be, Conde. 

Don Luis. Come, come, you have land at Escorial, which 
is money assured. Everybody knows you have property. 

Madame Pepita. What good is a little property when 
you haven't the money to build? 

Don Luis. Your daughter will be one of the finest 
matches in Spain. 



[ACT /] MADAME PEPITA 167 

Madame Pepita. [Flattered.] Oh, Conde, how can 
you say that? 

Don Luis. I have a soft spot in my heart for you, 
Pepita. 

Madame Pepita. Thank you, Conde. 

Don Luis. You are an exceptional woman, enter- 
prising, systematic, who has exquisite taste. 

[At each additional flattery, Madame Pepita 
swells with pride, blushing with excess of emotion.'] 
I express my admiration freely whenever I can find 
the opportunity. 

Madame Pepita. I am more than grateful, Conde. 

Don Luis. Today, I have come with a purpose. 

Madame Pepita. Conde! 

Don Luis. A lady will arrive shortly — naturally, at 
my suggestion — who wishes to order some clothes. 

Madame Pepita. A relative of the Conde's? 

Don Luis. [With a superior air.] No, she is not of 
my world, socially. Rather, I should say, of the artist 
class. Her name is Galatea — a stage name, of course. 
You must have heard of her — something quite out of the 
ordinary — high class vaudeville, don't you know? Liv- 
ing pictures. 

Madame Pepita. Oh, yes! Of course! 

Don Luis. Stunning creature! Exquisite! She has 
been in despair in Madrid over the problem of clothes. 
She can find nothing appropriate. [With a deprecatory 
gesture.] Finally, I said to her: Why not see Madame 
Pepita? 

Madame Pepita. I am overwhelmed, Conde! 

Don Luis. So now she is coming to you. The diffi- 
culty is — at least, I assume it is — she treats me like a 
father, or even more so. Although she is fond of me, there 
are some subjects we never discuss. However, I am con- 
vinced that somewhere, in the background, there must be 
somebody who pays the bills. Tragic, is it not? But, 
obviously, that is not our affair. 



i68 MADAME PEPITA [ACT I] 

Madame Peptia. [Innocently.l Certainly not, as long 
as they are paid. 

Don Luis. Naturally, that is understood. I might sug- 
gest that in fixing the price. . . . 

Madame I*epita. [Quickly.'\ The Conde knows that 
my prices are not exorbitant. As the lady is a friend of 
his . . . 

Don Luis. No, no, that is not it exactly. Permit your- 
self, for once, the luxury of a few hundred pesetas more 
or less. Suppose we say a thousand more. 

[Madame Pepita responds with a gesture of 
astonishment.^ 
Times are hard. I could use seven hundred and fifty 
myself . . . [Quickly. '\ which you may set aside for me 
when the bill is paid, unless of course, you care to advance 
them, if it is not inconvenient. 

Madame Pepita. [Disconcerted.'] But, Conde — 

Don Luis. [Affecting depression, pacing up and down 
the room.] Sad, Pepita, is it not? Democracy has re- 
duced us to this. A Conde de la Vega de Lezo accept- 
ing commissions upon clothes! Think of it! I shed 
tears. 

Madame Pepita. [Capitulating.] Don't feel too 
badly, Conde. If there is anything I can do. . . . 

Don Luis. [Simulating feeling.] Thanks, Pepita. 
[Embracing her.] I accept it because your heart is pure 
gold. But it demeans me. 

Madame Pepita. Not at all, Conde. 

[The door bell rings. Galatea's voice is heard.] 

Galatea. [Outside.] Is Madame Pepita in? 

Don Luis. Here she is; I recognize her voice. [Trans- 
ported.] Ah, her voice! [Advancing to the door.] This 
way, Galatea. [Hurrying forward to offer his hand.] 

[Galatea, a woman of twenty-five, displays an ex- 
tremely smart street costume, somewhat over-elaborate, 
but nevertheless in good taste. Her manners and 
speech are vulgar, contrasting with her appearance, and 



[ACT /] MADAME PEPITA 169 

indicating that she has been brought up among the least 
sensitive of the lower classes.^ 

Galatea. [To the Conde.] So you're here, are you? 

Don Luis. [Obsequious and infatuated, losing all his 
grand manner at once.^ Yes, I am here, as you see — 
whispering naughty things about you. I am interested in 
whatever you do. 

Galatea. Well, I'll have to credit you one for getting 
up early, and it was cold this morning, too. 

Don Luis. I am capable of any sacrifice for your sake. 

Galatea. The sacrifice will come later, but remember 
I don't count asthmatic attacks any sacrifice. 

Don Luis. Asthmatic attacks? A great joke! 

Galatea. Is this the Madame Pepita you talk so much 
about ? 

Madame Pepita. Yes, indeed. At your service. 

Galatea. [As affable with Madame Pepita as she is 
abrupt with the Conde.] I am charmed. 

Madame Pepita. The pleasure is mine. The Conde 
informs me that you are very particular in the matter of 
clothes. 

Galatea. Usually, I think clothes so commonplace. 

Madame Pepita. I am sure that we have something 
which will appeal to your tastes. 

Galatea. I suppose you're frightfully expensive? 

Madame Pepita. Quality is always expensive. How- 
ever, I do not believe that we shall differ over the price. 

Don Luis. You may have absolute confidence in Pepita. 
Although not nobly born, she holds herself high. 

[Whenever the Conde speaks, Galatea stares at 
him contemptuously, looking him over from head to 
foot, but he simulates entire obliviousness. "[ 

Madame Pepita. You embarrass me, Conde. [To 
Galatea.] Have you any ideas, or would you prefer to 
look over some of our models first, so as to see what we 
have? 

Galatea. Yes, perhaps you might show me something. 



I70 MADAME PEPITA {ACT /] 

Madame Pepita. If Madame will step into the other 
room. . . . 

Galatea. I am anxious to see your display. 

Don Luis. [Unable to resist.'] Quite right. Step this 
way! 

Galatea. No, trot along; you're excused. Dress- 
makers despise nothing so much as men who hang about 
fitting rooms. 

Madame Pepita. Oh, no indeed ! If it is any pleasure 
to the Conde. . . . 

Galatea. Well, if you don't mind, I do. That settles 
it. 

Don Luis. {Visibly disappointed.] Always clever and 



coy 



Galatea. Yes, it's the way I'm made. 

Don Luis. I must be ofF, then. I have business of my 
own to attend to. Does your motor happen to be at the 
door, by any chance? 

Galatea. What do you want of my motor? 

Don Luis. [Smiling.] Nothing of your motor, but I 
should like permission from you to ride in it, as far as my 
house. 

Galatea. [After a moment's hesitation.] Very well, 
if you send it right back. Mind that you don't smoke 
and get my cushions all smelling of tobacco, because, when 
I'm alone, I don't care to be reminded that there are such 
things as men in the world. [Fanning the air with her 
handkerchief.] Ouf! 

Don Luis. Au revoir, Pepita. Good-bye. By the way, 
attend to that little matter as soon as possible; the need 
is urgent. 

Madame Pepita. I shan't forget, Conde. 
[The Conde goes out.] 

Galatea. [As he disappears, utterly indifferent as to 
whether he overhears or not.] Silly ass! Side-splitting, 
isn't he? And he thinks he's a sport! 

Madame Pepita. [Alarmed, fearing the Conde may 



[JCT 7] MADAME PEPITA 171 

hear J] Oh, but the Conde is so distinguished! He is just 
in his prime. 

Galatea. Yes, prime for a mummy in a museum. 
My God, I've no use for antiques, not even when they're 
gold lined! Men oughtn't to be allowed after they are 
twenty. These hang-overs disgust me. [Siffhs.^ 

[Madame Pepita lifts the curtain at the door lead- 
ing to the fitting room, and ushers Galatea out. 
For a moment the stage is empty. Then the bell rings, 
and Carmen enters with Augusto.] 

[AuGUSTO is a young man of twenty-five, whose sole 
preoccupation is the care and adornment of his person. 
He is dressed in an ultra-fashionable, light colored 
morning suit, which is slightly effeminate in effect. 
His shirt, tie, shoes — in short all the articles of his 
attire — blend in a harmony of delicate hues. He 
sports a velour hat, whose soft, wide brim, turned up on 
one side and down on the other, rivals the meticulous 
lure of the coquette. His blond hair billows above 
his brow in sweeping waves, one or two of which break 
gracefully over his forehead. His moustache is equally 
exquisite, yet, in spite of his preciosity and affected 
speech, there is something about his person which is 
undeniably attractive.'] 
Carmen. [Obseguiously-I Do step in, Senor Viz- 
conde, and be seated. I will deliver the message. — My 
God, how sweet that man smells! 

Augusto. [Deigning to accept the proffered chair, but 
without sitting down.] Thanks awfully. 

Carmen. Did the Vizconde meet his father, the Conde, 
on the stairs? 

Augusto. Meet my father? No. 

Carmen. [Seeking a pretext to prolong the conversa- 
tion-] The Conde left a moment ago. . . . 

Augusto. Did he? Tell Madame Pepita that I am 
here — that is, if she is disengaged. 

Carmen. Certainly. If the Vizconde has a moment to 



172 MADAME PEPITA [ACT I] 

spare . . . Madame is with a customer, an actress. Per- 
haps you have heard the name? Galatea. 

AuGUSTO. [Quickly. '\ Galatea? When did she arrive? 
Carmen. Half an hour ago, Vizconde. She is select- 
ing models with Madame. 
AuGUSTO. Let me see her at once. 
Carmen. Galatea? 
AuGUSTO. No, Madame Pepita. 
Carmen. Yes, Vizconde. 

AuGUSTO. Do not tell her I am here, but say it i» 
urgent. Remember, not one word to Galatea. 

Carmen. No, Virconde. She will be with you di- 
rectly. — Holy Mother! What beautiful nails! [Goes out 
examining her owni\ 

AuGUSTO. [Smiling fatuously.^ It cannot be helped. 
Ah, I wonder what they see ? 

[He looks at himself in the three-panelled mirror, 
then in the pier glass, then in a hand mirror which 
lies upon the table, adjusting some detail of his suit, 
tie or hair at each. Pulling a chain, to which a small 
bottle of perfume is attached, from his trousers pocket, 
he pours a few drops upon his handkerchief. Then, 
he takes a small comb from a case and deftly fluffs 
the waves of his hair. Then, he twists the ends of 
his moustache between his thumb and fcfrefinger, makes 
the circuit of the mirrors again, and, finally, selecting 
a slender Egyptian cigarette from an incredible case, 
lights it with a patent lighter before sitting himself 
down to smoke, seated midway between the two mirrors, 
from which point of vantage he is able to survey him- 
self upon all sides at once. He is interrupted in this 
agreeable occupation by Madame Pepita, who enters 
hurriedly, followed by Carmen.] 
Madame Pepita. [To Carmen.] But why all this 
mystery? Will you tell me who wants to see me? What 
is the matter with you, anyhow? 



[ACT I] MADAME PEPITA 173 

AuGUSTO. [Remaining seated, without deigning to re- 
move his eyes from the mirror.^ Pepita, it is I. 

Madame Pepita. Vizconde! 

[AuGUSTO directs a killing glance at Carmen^ who 
responds with a look of admiration.^ 

Carmen. [As she goes out.'\ When he looks at you, 
it's divine! 

AuGUSTO. [Twirling his moustache complacently, with- 
out taking his eyes from the glass.^ Yes, Pepita, it is I. 
Don't call me Vizconde, call me what you used to when 
you lived with us. 

Madame Pepita. [Ravished.] Oh, Senorito Augusto! 

AuGUSTO. [Still more condescendingly. 1 Or just plain 
Augusto. 

Madame Pepita. Senorito Augusto! The very idea! 

Augusto. You witnessed my entrance into the world, 
Pepita. 

Madame Pepita. How long ago it seems! [About 
to cry.] Your poor mother! 

Augusto. [Abstracted, still preoccupied with himself.] 
Yes, my poor mother! Such is life; some die, others are 
born. Which is which? 

Madame Pepita. Who knows, Vizconde? 

Augusto. No douht you wonder how it is I come to 
be up so early? 

Madame Pepita. The Vizconde knows he is welcome 
at any hour. 

Augusto. It may surprise you, but I have come, my 
dear, to ask a favor. 

Madame Pepita. Oh, Vizconde! 

Augusto. Pepita, times are hard. Although my habits 
may be. . . . [Lowering his eyes.] The pace today is a 
trifle rapid. A man of my age with my advantages. . . . 
[Gazing at himself from head to foot.] Well, I must 
resign myself. [Smiles.] Love is expensive. And women 
have become so dreadfully prosaic. I am madly in love 



174 MADAME PEPITA [ACT I] 

with a woman — why conceal It? You know her — Galatea? 

Madame Pepita. Galatea? Who . . . ? 

AuGUSTO. Precisely. [Smiles.'\ Who is looking over 
your models. Hence the need of secrecy: I do not wish her 
to see me. [Madame Pepita moves over and closes the 
door.'l Thank you so much. She is a regal creature. 
{^Turning to admire himself again in an ecstasy of self- 
satisfaction.^ Although I say it myself, she has exquisite 
taste. 

Madame Pepita, Well, she is certainly hard to please. 

AuGUSTO. But she is crazy about me. I am sorry for 
the poor girl. She is in despair over the question of clothes; 
you know what models are in Madrid. Finally, I said 
to her: Why not see Madame Pepita? 

Madame Pepita. Oh, Vizconde! 

AuausTO. It will be worth your while — and so I 
dropped in myself. Money is no object in this case. When 
you make out the bill. . . . 

Madame Pepita. Oh, Vizconde! Since you are to 
pay the bill. . . . 

AuGUSTO. No, Pepita, no ; not exactly. Unfortunately, 
I shall not pay. 

Madame Pepita. Eh? 

AuGUSTO. I adore her, she adores me, but there are 
complications. In fact, I suspect that somewhere, in the 
background, there is some despicable creature who does 
pay. \^^ghing.'\ Some miserable old reprobate — at least 
so I gather from her maid, Carmelina, an adorable blonde 
— [Lowering his eyes^ who conceals nothing from me. 

Madame Pepita. [Sincerely alarmed. 1 You don't tell 
me . . . ? 

AuGUSTO. Permit yourself a little liberty when you 
make out the bill — I mean as to price. [With an endear- 
ing Pat.] And we'll split the difference. How is that? 

Madame Pepita. But, Vizconde — 

AuGUSTO. [Growing more and more affectionate.'\ 
Nonsense. Let the other chap do the worrying. Ah, 



iJCT /] MADAME PEPITA 175 

Pepita, you are just like my poor, dear mother. \^Becom- 
ing sentimental.'\ She was fond of you. 

Madame Pepita. \_Overcomej preparing to cry.'\ Yes, 
your poor mother. 

AuGUSTO. But enough of that! Charge her fifteen 
hundred pesetas. 

Catalina. [^Entering suddenly, without noticing 
AuGUSTO.] Mamma, I am going out to the corner to buy 
some note paper. Gregoria has asked me to write to 
her young man. 

Madame Pepita. What on earth is the matter with you? 
Don't you know how to address a gentleman? 

Catalina. {Frightened.^ Oh! 

Madame Pepita. Here is the Vizconde. 

Catalina. Yes ... I didn't see him first. 

Madame Pepita. Well, what else have you to say for 
yourself ? 

Catalina. {Offering her hand to Augusto^ who takes 
it gingerly.^ How do you do? 

Madame Pepita. Say how do you do, Vizconde? 

Augusto. {Condescendingly. '\ Oh, never mind! 

Catalina. {Firmly.'] I'm sure I don't care. 

Augusto. {Insinuatingly .] Is this . . . original young 
lady your daughter? 

Madame Pepita. Yes, Vizconde, my daughter and my 
punishment. 

Augusto. Very well, then we understand each other. 
You needn't bother to see me out. {Smiling.] The girls 
will be waiting at the door. 

{Retires, accompanied by Madame Pepita, who 
returns immediately.] 

Catalina. {As he disappears.] Conceited puppy. 

{She has changed her dress, but is still ungroomed 
and untidy, as before.] 

Madame Pepita. {Re-entering.] Are you still here? 

Catalina. {Intimidated.] I was looking for my book. 

Madame Pepita. Haven't I told you a hundred times 



176 MADAME PEPITA [ACT /] 

not to come in when I have people here, without first 
dressing yourself properly? 

Catalina. [Inspecting herself in the mirror.^ But I 
am dressed properly. 

Madame Pepita. [Surveying her from head to foot.] 
For what? 

Catalina. [With sincere conviction.] I have on a new 
skirt and a clean waist. 

Madame Pepita. And then you've taken a turn with 
them on in the coal bin! Come here! [Pushing her this 
way and that, as she fixes her dress.] Aren't you ashamed 
to be seventeen and not be able to put your skirt on 
straight yet? 

Catalina. Ouch! You hurt. 

Madame Pepita. [Still pushing her around.] It will 
do you good. 

Catalina. Yes, it's fun for you. 

Galatea. [Outside.] It's awfully good-looking, of 
course , . . 

Madame Pepita. [Opening the door, which she closed 
previously.] Get out! Somebody is coming. 

Catalina. Well, can I go, then? 

Madame Pepita. Go to the devil, if that will do any 
good. 

[Catalina goes out on the left as Galatea enters 
on the right. A sewing girl accompanies her, who 
retires immediately without speaking.] 

Galatea. [Sniffing the air.] Hm! So he has been 
here? 

Madame Pepita. [Pretending not to understand.] 
I beg your pardon — 

Galatea. [Immensely pleased.] Ha! Ha! Ha! 
What did he want? I can smell him. 

Madame Pepita. I have no idea to what you refer, 
sefiora. 

Galatea. How innocent we are! I refer to that 
rascal, Augusto. Nobody could mistake that odor of tube- 



[ACT /] MADAME PEPITA 177 

rose. [Deeply gratified.'\ It would have surprised me if he 
hadn't come. Probably he wanted to find out whether or 
not I was alone. Ha, ha, ha! What did you tell him? 
Suppose he meets the author of his being on the stairs? Ha, 
ha, ha! [Becoming serious.^ Well, I ought not to laugh, 
I suppose. He's been an angel to me — yes, that's a good 
joke, isn't it? A real angel. What in heaven's name were 
we talking about, anyway ? 

Madame Pepita. I hope you found something to suit? 

Galatea. Oh, yes! You have wonderful taste. 

Madame Pepita. [Bowing.'] Senora! 

Galatea. There's a blue gown that fairly took my 
breath away, and a lace negligee, somewhat low ... do 
you get me? [Sighing.] It was fascinating. Imagine me 
in it! 

Madame Pepita. Did you notice a mauve crepe de 
chine teagown, with a jacket effect of point d'Alenqonf 
It would be marvelous with your lines. Try it on, and we 
can mark the alterations. 

Galatea. No, thanks, I don't believe I'll try on any- 
thing to-day. 

Madame Pepita. You won't? 

Galatea. No, I am not interested. You might make 
me up two or three batiste blouses, perhaps — don't you 
know? The cheapest things you have — what you use for 
chemises will do. And send me a bill for four thousand 
pesetas. 

Madame Pepita. Four thousand what? 

Galatea. Half for you and half for me. My God, a 
woman has to live somehow! 

Madame Peptta. Oh, the bill? But . . . 

Galatea. While you are about it, I don't suppose you'd 
mind sending it in duplicate? 

Madame Pepita. In duplicate? 

Galatea. One for the old man and one for the boy. 
[Noticing the horrified look on Madame Pepita's face.] 
While a woman's young, she's got to provide for her old 



178 MADAME PEPITA [ACT /] 

age. What are men for, anyway, except to pay bills? 
There are lots of women who enjoy spending money. 
Every time they have anything, something else takes their 
eye, so off they go and buy. [Fery earnestly.] But that's 
not my style; I've too much sense. The old man is no 
good. [Madame Pepita makes a gesture of dissent.] I 
am merely taking him as an example — no reflections upon 
you. Tell me, would you put up with him for a minute 
if he never came across? Of course not. {Imitating in 
pantomime the counting of bills.] But the young fellow is 
all right. Besides, what's the use of denying it? I'm 
mad over him. But what does he expect? I'm not going 
to be the only one who loosens up. Take that from me. 

Madame Pepita. If you look at it in that light . . . 

Galatea. Light nothing! Look at it as it is. 
Suppose now I go in for clothes? Clothes cost money — 
you know that; and you can't raise a cent on them after- 
wards to save your neck. A woman's a fool to spend money 
on clothes. [Contemptuously.] Jewels are no better. 
You have to pay twenty for what you can't sell for ten. 
Cash is safer, and land. Every penny I save goes into 
land. 

Madame Pepita. [Impressed.] Then you think well 
of real estate? 

Galatea. Yes. The next time you run up to Paris, 
look out of the window as the train leaves Torrelodones. 
You'll see a house on the right, with a fence painted blue. 

Madame Pepita. With a tin summerhouse in front, 
with a vine on it? 

Galatea. Lovely, isn't it? That's me. 

Madame Pepita. [Enchanted.] You? 

Galatea. Drop off if you have time and look me over. 

Madame Pepita. Thanks. 

Galatea. I'm usually there Sundays, watering my let- 
tuce. [A pause.] But probably you have more important 
things to do, and I'm taking your time. 



[ACT 7] MADAME PEPITA 179 

Madame Pepita. No, indeed! 

Galatea. Oh, yes, you have! I'll look you up later. 
Remember — two bills. Don't forget! See you later. 
Madame Pepita. I shall hope to see you. . . . 
Galatea. I've taken an awful fancy to you — indeed, 
I have! 

Madame Pepita. Charmed, to be sure. 

[Both go out. After a moment, Madame Pepita 

returns.^ 

Madame Pepita. [To herself.'] A thousand pesetas, 

four thousand pesetas, fifteen hundred, two bills — and all 

for two batiste blouses! God, at this rate I can dismiss 

the establishment ! 

[She goes up to the table and examines the samples 
that Alberto has left. A noise outside. Then, the 
bell rings and Don Guillermo enters, supporting 
Catalina, pale and frightened. Cristina and an- 
other girl follow immediately.] 
Madame Pepita. [Alarmed, rushing up to her 
daughter.] What is the matter? What has happened, 
Catalina? 

Catalina. [Very much frightened.] Nothing, 
mamma . . . nothing at all. 

Don Guillermo. Don't be alarmed, senora. 
Madame Pepita. Sir! 

Catalina. Mamma, this is Don Guillermo. 
Don Guillermo. The young lady has turned her ankle. 
Perhaps you had better sit down. [Assisting Catalina to 
an armchair.] As she was crossing the street, an auto- 
mobile almost ran over her. Fortunately, it missed . . . 
Catalina. There wasn't any danger. 
Don Guillermo. Naturally, she was frightened. 
Have you a glass of water? 

Madame Pepita. Squeeze a lime in it. 

[Cristina goes out.] 
Don Guillermo. I should suggest an orange. 



i8o MADAME PEPITA [ACT I] 

[The Sewing Girl goes out.} 

Catalina. I'm all right now. I was frightened, that's 
all. 

Madame Pepita. Mooning along as usual, were you, 
with your head in the clouds? 

Don Guillermo. Don't scold her. Accidents will 
happen. 

Catalina. [Insistinff.^ Mamma, this is Don Guil- 
lermo, the gentleman who lives upstairs. 

Madame Pepita. [Brusguely.'\ I heard you the first 
time. [Affably, to Don Guillermo.] This is a great 
pleasure. We are much obliged to you. 

Don Guillermo. Not at all. I was in time to prevent 
a catastrophe, which somebody else would have prevented 
had I not been in time. 

[Meanwhile Catalina has taken his hand, affection- 
ately-l 

Madame Pepita. Won't you sit down? — Catalina, let 
go of the gentleman's hand; it embarrasses him. 

[Catalina lets go of Don Guillermo's hand.l 

Don Guillermo. [Sympathetically. '[ No, indeed. 
She is a little nervous. [The Sewing Girl re-enters with 
a glass of water, which Don Guillermo offers to Cata- 
lina.] Drink this. 

Sewing Girl. We had to put vinegar in it because 
there wasn't anything sweet in the house. 

Madame Pepita. That will do. 

Catalina. [Almost choking, refusing to drink."] Yes, 
mamma, because Gregoria finished the orangeade yesterday, 
when she had that fainting fit, after she had a quarrel with 
her young man. 

Madame Pepita. Gregoria a fainting fit? The kitchen 
cat will be having a nervous breakdown next! [To the 
girl.] Take this away and go back to your work. 
[The Sewing Girl retires with the glass.] 

Catalina. [Aside, to Don Guillermo.] Don't you 
go away. 



[ACT /] MADAME PEPITA i8i 

Madame Pepita. What was that? 

Catalina. \_Timidly.'\ I asked Don Guillermo not 
to go away. 

Don Guillermo. But I must. However, I live only 
one flight up. If you need me at any time, Guillermo de 
Armendariz is my name. 

Madame Pepita. My daughter tells me that you are 
a very learned man. 

Don Guillermo. [Unimpressed. '\ That depends. 

Madame Pepita. You are a member of the Academy. 

Don Guillermo. [Smiling. '[ I could scarcely avoid 
that. 

Madame Pepita. [Astonished.'] Avoid it? 

Catalina. He says k's a great pity that I am such an 
ignoramus. 

Don Guillermo. I never said that, because you are 
not an ignoramus. 

Madame Pepita. Oh, yes she is! But it's not her 
fault. It's mine — ^that is, it isn't mine, either. What 
could I do? I've spent my whole life working for her 
like a slave, trying to scrape together enough money so 
that she wouldn't have to go through what I've been through 
in this world. Tied down as I am to the worry of these 
miserable clothes, how was I to tend to her education? 
That's why she's like this, but you needn't think that it 
isn't a mortification to me, because when God has given 
you a daughter — or maybe it was the devil — you just want 
to have her nonplussed ultra, and it's a great grief to me 
that she isn't. But why am I telling all this to you, when 
you don't know what it is to have a child? That is, maybe 
you do know. Anyhow, it's none of my business. I don't 
mean to be inquisitive . . . 

Don Guillermo. [Smiling.'] No, unfortunately I do 
not know. I am alone in the world. When I was young, 
I had no time to marry, and now that I am growing old, 
it is too late. My books are to blame, and they console 
me for what I have lost, which is no more than their duty. 



182 MADAME PEPITA [ACT /] 

Since the subject has been mentioned, I wonder if you would 
allow me to devote a little of my time to Catalina's educa- 
tion? 

Madame Pepita. Education? 

Don Guillermo. It seems providential — ^we are good 
friends already. We have talked together, and I am fond 
of her. She is intelligent. 

Catalina. [Greatly astonished.] Am I? 

Don Guillermo. She will learn quickly; I guarantee 
it. 

Madame Pepita. You give her lessons? A member 
of the Academy? 

Catalina. Certainly, mamma. 

Don Guillermo. It will be a pleasure. Then, I shall 
feel that my learning is actually of some use in the world. 
It has all been rather selfish till now. What do you say? 
Is it agreed ? 

Madame Pepita. [Greatly affected.'] Ah, you have 
no idea how I appreciate this! [Throwing her arms about 
Catalina, and bursting into tears.] My dear, you are to 
sit at the feet of an Academician! 

Don Guillermo. [Surprised.] It hardly justifies the 
emotion. It is not so serious. 

Madame Pepita. But I feel terribly, because we are 
dreadfully unhappy. Naturally, you would never suspect 
it, but since you're so fond of my daughter, I can tell you. 
Besides, everybody knows it, anyway. We are dreadfully 
unhappy, right here as we sit, because this poor child has no 
father. You imagine that I am a widow . . . 

Don Guillermo. Senora, I imagine nothing of the sort. 

Madame Pepita. [Hastily.] Well, I'm not, I'm 
married ; that is, I am not married either — I mean, yes I am ; 
but it's just the same as if I wasn't because my husband, 
that is, the man I thought was my husband — 

Don Guillermo. But you owe me no explanations; I 
am not concerned in the affair. 

Madame Pepita. [Without stopping to draw breath.] 



[JCT I] MADAME PEPITA 183 

But I want you to know, so that you won't think . . . 
You see, it was this way: My parents were good, honest 
people, my mother was lady's maid and my father butler 
in the house of the Counts de la Vega de Lezo — you have 
heard of them? — but I always had a taste for clothes, so 
I went with some French women to be a dressmaker in 
Buenos Aires; and when I got there I met the father of 
this child. I was young and impressionable then. He 
was a Russian — no doubt about that — and we got married, 
church and all, but without his settling anything on me, 
because it isn't done out there, and I thought he was the 
manager of a printing house; but two months afterwards 
he turned out to be a duke — yes, sir, a Russian duke, who, 
because he was the black sheep of the family, had been 
shipped off to America, and then his father died, and he 
inherited, and had to go back to his own country. But 
that wasn't the worst of it. The worst of it was that he 
was a bigamist. 

Don Guillermo. A bigamist? 

Madame Pepita. Yes, he was married already in 
Russia to a woman of his own rank, and he ran oflE with 
her. So when this poor child came into the world, she 
hadn't any father. 

Don Guillermo. How singularly unfortunate! 

Madame Pepita. But I kept right on sewing, and 
when he got back to Russia, he sent me money, for it is only 
fair to admit he was always a gentleman, and then I 
came back to Spain, and established myself in business, 
and since I've got taste, if I do say it myself, we've gotten 
ahead. Besides, now and then he sent me money. But 
it's a long time now since he went away, and I haven't 
seen him for sixteen years, and my daughter doesn't know 
him at all, and she never will, for we don't even know 
whether he is alive or dead, and probably he has other 
children, anyway ; and here I am neither married nor single, 
and not even a widow! So you see that I have plenty of 
reason for being unhappy. 



i84 MADAME PEPITA [ACT /] 

Don Guillermo. Not so much as you think. You 
have your health, you have your work, an income, a quiet 
conscience . . . 

Madame Pepita. Yes, one thing I can say is that my 
conscience never troubled me. 

Don Guillermo. What more do you ask? Love 
played you a trick. Pshaw! In exchange, you have a 
daughter, a pledge of happiness, a reason for living. You 
had your illusion of love for a time, but, believe me, even 
sadder than to have been deceived, is never to have had the 
opportunity. Hereafter, you must count me as one of your 
friends. For the present, I must bid you good-bye. You 
have my sympathy . . . 

Madame Pepita. Thanks very much. If I can be of 
any service — 

Don Guillermo. Perhaps later. Good-bye. 

Madame Pepita. Adios. 

[Don Guillermo ffoes out. A pause follows.'] 

Carmen. [Entering.] Madame, the salesman has comt 
with the English samples. 

Madame Pepita. [Drying her eyes.] Show him into 
the other room. I shall attend to his case immediately. [To 
Catalina^ who is gazing pensively into space.] What are 
you mooning about? 

Catalina. Isn't it sad not to be anybody's daughter, 
and not to have a father like everybody? 

Madame Pepita. [Taking her into her arms.] You 
are my daughter. 

Catalina. Oh, mamma, we are dreadfully unhappy! 

Madame Pepita. We are, my child, we are, indeed! 
[Moving off a little, and placing both hands on Catalina's 
shoulders, while she looks her straight in the eye.] But 
remember this: one thing consoles me for all our mis- 
fortunes. In my daughter's veins runs noble blood! 
Curtain 



ACT II 

Catalina and Don Guillermo are discovered a^ the 
curtain rises. Don Guillermo paces up and down with 
the air of a person feeling himself thoroughly at home, 
while Catalina writes at a small table which has been 
installed near one of the windows to do duty as a desk. 
It is lihered with books and papers, all in hopeless con- 
fusion. Presently, Catalina ceases writing, examining 
the paper on which she has been working as if looking for 
mistakes. After conscientious scrutiny, she blots it and lays 
it upon the table, turning to contemplate her inky fingers 
with an expression half despairing, half resigned. Upon a 
second inspection, she becomes even more discouraged, as 
the ink has not disappeared. Finally, running her fingers 
nervously through her hair, she rubs them upon her apron, 
and heaves a profound sigh. 

Don Guillermo. [^Turning.'] Have you finished? 

Catalina. Yes. 

Don Guillermo. What are you doing now? 

Catalina. [Still rubbing her fingers."] Wiping my 
fingers. [Exhibiting her hands.] I've a little ink on 
them. [Don Guillermo smiles.] Writing makes me 
furious ! 

Don Guillermo. Why? 

Catalina. Because it gets my hands in such a state — 
it's the pen. I dip it into the ink, and it runs up all over 
the handle. I use the pen-wiper just as you tell me to, 
but the more I wipe, the more ink comes off. 

Don Guillermo. Have patience. It will all come in 
time. [Amused.] The beginning is always difBcult. We 
shall soon see how fast you get on. 

Catalina. [Discouraged.] But look at these letters. 

i8s 



i86 MADAME PEPITA [ACT II] 

The I's are all crooked, and the m's are all pointed. It 
makes me mad. 

Don Guillermo. [Smilinff.l Does it? 

Catalina. Because I know how things ought to be, 
and, then, I go and do them just the opposite, so, although 
I know, I don't know, and I get desperate. [Lookinff at 
the paper.] The Vs ought to be straight. Well, I try to 
make them straight, and they turn out crooked, so what's 
the use of knowing? Of course, when I'm wrong because 
I don't know, I'm an idiot, but when I know I'm wrong 
and then do it, what am I? 

Don Guillermo. [Patting her affectionately on the 
head.] You are an intelligent young woman, who must 
work hard in order to overcome the first difficulties, and 
put what she knows to good use. That is precisely what 
learning means. 

Catalina. [After a pause, looking at Don Guil- 
lermo intently.] Don Guillermo, what use is learning, 
anyhow ? 

Don Guillermo. Learning teaches us to know. 

Catalina. Yes, I understand that. But what use is it? 

Don Guillermo. [Smiling.] You will soon see. It 
is useful in many ways, which, little by little, you will 
discover yourself. Even if it were of no use, it would 
still be the most wonderful thing in the world, because 
it is the only thing that is satisfying in itself. When we 
have once peeped into the Garden of Knowledge, even at 
the tiniest gate, it is astounding what marvellous voyages 
we are able to make, and what sights we can see, without 
taking the trouble of leaving our chairs. 

Catalina. I suppose that's why you never notice what's 
on your plate at dinner, and laugh to yourself all the 
time, and walk out on the street without tying your shoes? 

Don Guillermo. [Slightly annoyed.] What a keen 
little critic we are! 

Catalina. No, I don't mean anything uncomplimen- 
tary, only I can't help noticing what you do, because I 



[ACT II] MADAME PEPITA 187 

watch you all the time. You mustn't think I'm criticis- 
ing. Everything you do seems right to me. 

Don Guillermo. [Greatly pleased.] Yes, my dear, 
I know you are sweet and good, and you are very fond of 
me. 

Catalina. Yes, I am. [Artlessly.] Are you very 
fond of me? 

Don Guillermo. Don't you know it? 

Catalina. [Sincerely pleased.] Of course I do. I 
may be stupid about other things, but not about that. I 
know you are fond of me, because when I broke that jar 
the other day in the library, you didn't say one word about 
it, though it was valuable. That's how I know. I didn't 
mean to. 

Don Guillermo. You have talent, too, for psychology. 

Catalina. Now you're making fun of me. 

Don Guillermo. I am very fond of you — fonder than 
you can imagine, fonder than I could have believed pos- 
sible myself. I love you better than I do art and science 
put together. 

Catalina. [After a brief silence.] Are we going to 
begin this all over again? 

Don Guillermo. No, that will do for today. 

Catalina. I want to tell you a secret. [Drawing near, 
mysteriously.] We're rich. 

Don Guillermo. Who? 

Catalina. Mother and I. Who did you think? 
We've inherited a million. My father died and left it in 
his will. We got word yesterday, and mother has gone 
to see the lawyer. Nobody knows except Don Luis; he 
was here last night when word came. Mother says she 
is going to retire from business, because she's sick and 
tired of clothes, and we're going to Escorial to live. 

Don Guillermo. To Escorial? 

Catalina. Yes, mamma owns property there, and she 
says she's going to build houses and rent them, and keep 
one, too, for us to live in, that has a big garden with a 



i88 MADAME PEPITA [ACT II] 

grotto, and a fountain in the middle, besides a hot-house 
where we can grow camelias. 

[The bell rings. Catalina stops short.] 
Here she comes now. 

[Madame Pepita enters^ attired in a simple tailor- 
made suit of grey or dark blue; also a mantilla. She 
is visibly flustered and out of breath.] 

Don Guillermo. Good morning. 

Madame Pepita. [About to pass without seeing him.] 
Oh, excuse me! I didn't notice you., Good morning. 
I'm so excited I don't know whether I'm on my head or 
my heels. Has she told you? 

Don Guillermo. Yes, indeed. 

Madame Pepita. Terribly sad, isn't it? And to think 
of my being caught without a stitch of black to my name! 
No wonder they say : "Go to the Cutler's house for wooden 
knives." Here I am fussing about other people's clothes, 
and I look like a fright myself. I wonder what the notary 
thought when I walked in in colors on such an occasion? 

Don Guillermo. Don't worry, probably he never 
thought at all. Sit down. It is a matter of taste. 

Madame Pepita. [Sitting down.] Oh, dear, no! 
Whatever's right is right, and for my part, I always want 
to do the correct thing. Poor dear! Think of his re- 
membering us at such a time! 

Don Guillermo. He has done no more than his duty. 

Madame Pepita. But so nicely. [Bursting into tears.] 
Ah, my dear, your father was always a gentleman! They 
tell me the poor man was ill for over two years, not able 
to move out of his chair. And all the while he was think- 
ing of us, and we were sitting here calm and collected as 
could be, without suspecting the first thing about it. Oh, 
my daughter! [Embracing Catalina^ who, as befits the 
occasion, assumes an expression of supreme anguish.] 

Catalina. Poor mamma! 

Don Guillermo. [Removing Catalina.] Come, 



[ACT II] MADAME PEPITA 189 

come, you must not upset your daughter. It is not right 
to grieve like this. 

Madame Pepita. [Between her sobs, artlessly.] But 
I'm not grieving. I feel I can tell you, because you're so 
wise that you understand anyhow. 

Don Guillermo. [Smiling.] In a measure. 

Madame Pepita. And that's what makes me feel so 
badly, not to be able to grieve as I ought. Because you 
see how the man has behaved to us. And I did care for 
him, yes, I did! He was the apple of my eye. And when 
it all happened, seventeen years ago, and he left me for- 
ever, believe me, it was all I could do to go on living be- 
cause of my child, and more than once, yes, more than 
twice, too, I had a mind to put an end to it all. 

Catalina. [In tears also.] Poor mamma! 

Madame Pepita. And now he's gone and died, and 
they send me word about it! [Beginning to cry again.] 
Before I can cry the way I feel I ought to cry, I have to 
stop and try to remember how it was I was able to cry then. 

Don Guillermo. But there is no obligation what- 
ever upon you to cry. Even if there were, your feelings 
are beyond your control. 

Madame Pepita. You are right there. 

Don Guillermo. To compel ourselves to feel what 
we do not feel is hypocrisy, a fraud upon ourselves, because 
it mortifies our pride to realize that our feelings do not 
measure up to our expectations. If your feelings do not 
prompt you to cry, you ought not to cry. Tears, unless 
they are heart-felt, are injurious. They do no good to the 
deceased. 

Madame Pepita. [Exaggeratedly.] But you don't 
know how I loved him! 

Don Guillermo. Certainly I do, but your love has 
evaporated, like perfume which has stood in a wardrobe for 
years. Today you have been cleaning house; you find the 
bottle and it is empty. The contents are gone, they have 



I90 MADAME PEPITA [ACT II] 

been dissipated, they have ceased to be. You have forgotten 
him, so why worry? Little by little our bodies change, 
until, after seven years, not one atom of what we once were 
remains. Remember, he has been absent sixteen years. Not 
one vestige now remains of the flesh and blood that glowed 
and quivered with love for him. You are not the same 
woman, you are a different woman, who has had nothing 
whatever to do with that man. 

Madame Pepita. [Sentimentally.] But the soul, Don 
Guillermo? What of the soul ? 

Don Guillermo. The soul may recall vaguely the 
emotions which the body has felt, but it cannot continue 
to feel them. 

Madame Pepita. [Very positively.] Well, an3rway, 
it will be safer to go into mourning. 

Don Guillermo. And very proper, if it affords you 
any relief. 

Madame Pepita. No, on account of what people will 
say. After all, remember I'm inheriting a million. 

Don Guillermo. Yes, that fact deserves to be taken 
into consideration. 

Madame Pepita. [To Catalina.] Dear, run out and 
tell Carmen to cut you a blouse from the crepe we're using 
for the Baroness's tea-gown. I'm too upset to think of 
anything for myself. 

Catalina. Yes, mamma. Don Guillermo . . . 

Don Guillermo. I am going also. It is growing 
late. 

Catalina. Aren't you coming back to dinner? 

Don Guillermo. I dined here yesterday, and day be- 
fore yesterday, and Sunday, too, if my memory is correct; 
and this is only Wednesday. 

Catalina. Pshaw! What of it? He is coming, isn't 
he, mamma? 

Madame Pepita. Of course he is. If he isn't here, I 
always feel as if there must be something wrong with the 
table. 



[ACT II] MADAME PEPITA 191 

Don Guillermo. Well, since you insist. You have 
my sympathy, as you know, although I believe you are to 
be congratulated. 

Madame Pepita. I appreciate it. [Greatly downcast.] 
We must do the best we can. 

Catalina. [Going to the door with DoN Guillermo, 
and taking his hand as if 'he were her father.] Don't forget 
the meringues you promised. 

Don Guillermo. I'll bring them along. 

[As Don Guillermo and Catalina go out, the 
door bell rings, and they come face to face with Don 
LuiSj who enters. Each gentleman displays plainly 
his discomfiture at the presence of the other. The 
CoNDE turns his back, affecting indifference, while 
Don Guillermo stares him up and down in disgust, 
which he does not attempt to conceal. They salute 
each other, however, the Conde remaining frigidly 
polite, while Don Guillermo mutters an acknowledg- 
ment between his teeth.] 
Don Luis. Good afternoon, Senor de Armendariz. 
Don Guillermo. Good afternoon. [Biting off the 
words.] 

[Goes out with Catalina.] 
Don Luis. [After Don Guillermo has disappeared.] 
Does this good man spend his entire time here? 

Madame Pepita. [Smiling.] He is giving my daughter 
lessons. 

Don Luis. Ah! [Apparently to himself, but with the 
evident purpose of being overheard.] Such assiduity makes 
me suspicious. 

Madame Pepita. How so? 

Don Luis. [Significantly.] We may take that up later. 
At present, more pressing business demands our attention. 
Have you had time to rest? Have you recovered from 
last night? [Madame Pepita nods.] Have you got the 
money ? 
Madame Pepita. Yes. 



192 MADAME PEPITA [ACT II] 

Don Luis. Where is it? 

Madame Pepita. Why, as soon as I received it, I de- 
posited it in the bank. The notary went along, because I 
was afraid to trust myself in the street alone with so much 
money. 

Don Luis. Have you any of it about you now? 

Madame Pepita. No. Why do you ask? 

Don Luis. I fear you are making a mistake. It is a 
matter which involves a will. A demand for money may 
be made upon you at any time, and I consider it important 
that you have sufficient on hand. 

Madame Pepita. I thought so, too, but it seems not. 
The notary says all the expenses have been paid. My poor 
dear arranged for everything off there on his estate, so that 
I shouldn't have a thing to do but accept the money. 

Don Luis. I appreciate your situation. By the way, 
do you happen to have four hundred pesetas? [Without al- 
lowing her time to recover.] As a first installment upon a 
purchase which it is important that you make, a magnificent 
opportunity — a piece of property next to your own at Escorial, 
which may be had for a song. A friend of mine is in financial 
difficulty. 

Madame Pepita. [Interested.] Is the Conde positive 
that it is a bargain ? 

Don Luis. It is a gift! If you miss this opportunity, 
you will regret it all your life, and you will miss it unless 
you can let me have four hundred pesetas this very day. 
What would I give if I had the money! 

Madame Pepita. [Producing a brand new check hook 
from her hag.] Well, I'll sign a check. [Seating herself at 
the table, she begins to make out the check.] 

Don Luis. You certainly are in luck. Money breeds 
money. While you are about it, you might make it five 
hundred, so as to provide for emergencies. 

Madame Pepita. [Rising, after writing the check.] 
Here it is. 



[ACT 11] MADAME PEPITA 193 

Don Luis. [Solicitously. 1 Allow me to sign the re- 
ceipt. 

Madame Pepita. Oh, not at all! Conde, I should be 
offended. 

Don Luis. [Convinced.] As you wish. Now let me 
offer you a piece of advice. This confidence, which you 
place in me, deservedly, extend to nobcftiy else. Be on your 
guard. You are rich, and the world is full of scoundrels. 
They will cheat you, rob you, they will swarm to your mil- 
lions as flies to their honey. Pepita, if you are not care- 
ful, your generosity will be taken advantage of. I myself 
have abused it not a little. 

Madame Pepita. Oh, don't say that, Conde ! 

Don Luis. Yes, Pepita, unavoidably, perhaps, but the 
fact remains that I have abused it. However, Providence 
is repaying your kindness with interest. You are rich. 
[Suddenly overcome.] God knows I rejoice with you, 
although this unexpected good fortune obliges me to re- 
nounce a dream — It is a subject, however, which as a 
gentleman, I prefer not to dwell upon. 

Madame Pepita. [Interested.] A dream? 

Don Luis. [Loftily.] Alas! 

Madame Pepita. But to an old friend? Surely the 
Conde can tell me. 

Don Luis. Yes, after all, why not? Now that it has 
become impossible, what difference does it make? Catalina 
and Augusto — you must have noticed how they have be- 
come attached to each other? 

Madame Pepita. [Surprised and delighted.] The Viz- 
conde and my daughter? 

Don Luis. Then you have noticed it? 

Madame Pepita. No, I hadn't noticed. 

Don Luis. Pepita, you are blind. I have suspected for 
some time, but now I am certain. He has practically con- 
fessed, under compulsion, and it is not surprising. Your 
daughter is an original creature — unusual, fascinating. And 



194 MADAME PEPITA [ACT II] 

Augusto's temperament is so artistic! It was inevitable. 

Madame Pepita. But, Conde, pardon me . . . The 
Vizconde ... I thought . . . Is he the sort of man? 

Don Luis. My dear, talk; it is all put on. Disap- 
pointment will result in irregularities. Men are naturally 
that way, anyhow. When he realized that he had become 
the victim of an impossible passion, for I may say that 
it never occurred to him that I would relent — although you 
are worthy people, your daughter has no father. We are 
what we are. 

Madame Pepita. [Sobbinff.'] Yes, we are. 

Don Luis. However, it is too late now for regrets. 
When I found myself confronted with a crisis, I was pre- 
pared to lay prejudice aside. Adversity has its uses. But 
you have inherited money. 

Madame Pepita. Thank God! 

Don Luis. So it is out of the question. You are rich, 
we are poor. People wcfuld think that we were after your 
money. Never! Never that! Never! 

Madame Pepita. Why, Conde! 

Don Luis. Never! I could never reconcile myself to 
such a thing, at least not without a bitter struggle. But my 
heart aches for my boy. And there is another obstacle. 

Madame Pepita. Another? 

Don Luis. Which is a great deal more serious. What 
position does the gentleman on the floor above occupy in 
this establishment? 

Madame Pepita. But I have already explained to the 
Conde that he is giving Catalina lessons. 

Don Luis. But he remains to dinner, he remains to 
supper, he spends all his time here . . . 

Madame Pepita. He is devoted to my little girl. 

Don Luis. He is entirely too devoted. 

Madame Pepita. We are awfully fond of him, Conde. 

Don Luis. That makes it worse. 

Madame Pepita. He's so gentlemanly and refined. 

Don Luis. No doubt; that is neither here nor there. 



[ACT 11] MADAME PEPITA 195. 

The question is not what he is, but what you are. These 
visits compromise your reputation. Besides, there are too 
many of them. Remember, you are a young and beauti- 
ful woman. 

Madame Pepita. Yes, I'm thirty-seven. 

Don Luis. With a past — although it was not your fault. 
With a past! It is another phase which I prefer not to 
dwell on. 

Madame Pepita. Conde! 

Don Luis. Your daughter is grown, yet you persist 
in permitting this gentleman liberties which are extended 
customarily only to a husband or a father. 

Madame Pepita. Oh, no! Nothing of the sort. Be- 
lieve me, there must be some mistake . . . 

Don Luis. Morally, I decline to sanction the situation. 
I had hoped that our children might unite, but you must 
realize that a name such as mine is peculiarly sensitive to 
the breath of slander. I could never tolerate such a dubi- 
ous situation — not that I wish to criticise your conducft 
or to dictate in any way. No, do as you see fit. Never- 
theless, if this gentleman continues his visits to this house, 
I shall be obliged to discontinue mine. Interpret it as 
you may, I shall retire — regretfully, Pepita, but with 
dignity, I shall retire. 

Madame Pepita. Conde! 

Don Luis. However, I must hurry to place this money 
in the hands of my friend. Remember, your interests are 
first with me. If you need advice, come to me. But as 
it is, I feel that I intrude. Think it over, think it over 
very carefully. Do not force me to say good-bye. Au 
revoirf [Goes out.^ 

[Madame Pepita, surprised and delighted at the 
prospect of her daughter s becoming a countess, remains 
behind completely dazed.] 

Madame Pepita. My daughter? The Vizconde? 
Impossible! No, it isn't either . . . Catalina! Catalina! 

Catalina. [Appearing in the door-way.] Did you 



196 MADAME PEPITA [ACT II] 

call, mamma? [Noticing her mother's agitation.] Don't 
you feel well? 

Madame Fepita. Yes ... no, I don't. Come here; 
look at me. How would you like to be a countess? 

Catalina. I, a countess? Why? 

Madame Pepita. Would you or wouldn't you? An- 
swer me at once! 

Catalina. How can I tell? 

Madame Pepita. Tell me the truth. Are you in love? 

Catalina. I? In love? 

Madame Pepita. Isn't there any one you'd like to 
marry? Are you engaged? 

Catalina. [Alarmed.] No, mamma. I'm not en- 
gaged. 

Madame Pepita. But you like some one, don't you? 
There is some one you're awfully fond of? Don't you 
find him attractive? 

Catalina. No, mamma . . . not exactly attractive. 
What are you talking about? Mamma, I don't love any- 
body. 

[The bell rings, and Galatea enters like a whirl- 
wind.] 

Galatea. Where is she? Ah, give me a kiss! An- 
other for luck. A hug, too, this time! [To Catalina.] 
And one for you. [Embracing mother and daughter in 
turn.] Congratulations! You don't know how delighted 
I was to hear it. Think of it ... a cold million! What? 
Pesetas ? 

Madame Pepita. No, francs. 

Galatea. Exchange is at seven and a half. It may 
not seem much, but when you figure it up . . . [Considering 
a moment.] It comes to fifteen thousand duros. I wish 
something like that would happen my way. You knew 
what you were doing, all right, when you married a Rus- 
sian. Now don't tell me it was love. I've always stuck 
to the home article, Madrid is good enough for me — al- 
though I don't suppose I can teach you anything. Anyway, 



[ACT II] MADAME PEPITA 197 

I'm tickled to death that you've really got the money, be- 
cause I don't suppose you'll mind so much now about 
the bill. I've given up hope of the old man, and his son 
is no better; they simply haven't got it. Not that I care 
about the boy ... I'm silly over him, but the old chap 
ought to pay somehow. Does he think a man can make an 
ass of himself at his age for nothing? 

Madame Pepita. [To Catalina, who is displaying 
keen interest.] Catalina, see if the girls are ready to try 
on your blouse. 

Galatea. Yes, run along. Things will be coming your 
way pretty soon. [Catalina retires.] She's a lucky girl! 
God remembers her while she's young; she won't have to 
go through what you and me have. Look out now that 
some young whippersnapper don't get after her money. 
The world's pretty rotten, and I don't know whether a 
woman's worse off when she has money or when she hasn't 
any, because what's the satisfaction of marrying a man 
and then sitting around watching him spend your money on 
somebody else? 

Madame Pepita. [Moistening her lips.] There are 
all sorts of men. 

Galatea. And then a few. You've said it. 

Madame Pepita. It strikes me you're a sensible woman. 
Why don't you break off with the Vizconde? 

Galatea. With Augusto? Never in the world! 

Madame Pepita. You're not getting anywhere as it is, 
it seems to me. 

Galatea. I ought to know that better than you do. 

Madame Pepita. I say! 

Galatea. I wouldn't give him up if I starved. I could 
lose everything, but I'd love him just the same. I've 
thought I'd leave him, sometimes, and march myself off 
to Paris, where a woman can do something. Out of sight, 
out of mind, don't you know? There's nothing in this for 
me. But when the time comes, I can't tear myself away. 

Madame Pepita. It might be a good idea, though. 



198 MADAME PEPITA [ACT II] 

Galatea. No, It simply can't be done. I'd feel as if 
I was committing murder. I love him more all the time, 
and it's a shame. Last night I started for the station — 

Madame Pepita. Did you miss the train? 

Galatea. No, he dropped around. Do you know what 
I've got in this box? Neckties, to make up. Whenever I 
feel I can't stand him any longer, I just run out and buy 
him a handsome present. [Dubiously.] Well, I suppose 
somebody's got to do it. 

Carmen. [Entering. 1 Madame, the lady in the Calle 
de Lista wants you to hurry up those negligees. She says 
she can't wait any longer. 

Madame Pepita. Yes, better let her have something 
for tonight; I'd forgotten all about her. Dear me, life is 
just one emergency after another! 

Galatea. Congratulations again — I am going. I hear 
you're retiring from business. If you're selling out cheap, 
tip me off. I know a good thing when I see one. But 
don't let me detain you . . . 

[Madame Pepita retires. Galatea^ after adjust- 
ing her hat at the mirror, is about to leavd by the other 
door, when AuGUSTO enters.] 

Galatea. [Surprised.] Augusto! 

AuGUSTa Galatea! Are you here? 

Galatea. I was just congratulating Madame Pepita. 

Augusto. What were you doing last night? 

Galatea. I was out. [Smiling.] 

Augusto. But where were you going? You left no 
word. I searched all Madrid; I was furious. Don't you 
love me any more? 

Galatea. [Smiling.] Search me. 

Augusto. Yes, but how about me ? 

Galatea. I didn't get very far. 

Augusto. WTiat are you doing tonight? 

Galatea. [Coyly.] Is it a date? 

Augusto. I must have a moment first with Pepita; I 
shan't be long. You might wait outside in the motor, and 



[ACT II] MADAME PEPITA 199 

then we can go for that ring. I know you've set your 
heart on it — although I had planned it as a surprise. 

Galatea. I have planned a little surprise for you, too. 

AuGUSTO. Do you mean it? 

Galatea. [Handinff him the box of neckties.] Promise 
not to look. 

AuGUSTO. [About to open the box.] What can it be? 

Galatea. Wait until you are alone. 

AuGUSTO. [Kissing her hand.] You're an angel! 

Galatea. So are you. Peep and see. [Goes out.] 

AuGUSTO. [After a discreet, but rapid glance in the 
glass.] What can it be? [Opens the box.] Cravats! 
[Becoming sentimental.] Although her taste may be 
bizarre, how she loves me! [Kissing a cravat.] And how 
I love her! [Rising into transports.] 

[Madame Pepita enters, greatly pleased to dis- 
cover AuGUSTO.] 

Madame Pepita. [Entering.] Vizconde! . . . Oh, Viz* 
conde ! 

AuGUSTO. [Coming to, hastily bundling up the cravats.] 
Pardon me. 

Madame Pepita. Were you thinking? 

AuGUSTO. Thinking? I was trying not to think. 

Madame Pepita. [Sympathetically.] Vizconde! 

AuGUSTO. I am in desperate need of seven hundred 
pesetas. If you cannot let me have them, I shall grow 
violent. I know you have a million, but I do not ask upon 
that account. No, I should have had to have them anyway. 
Life has become insupportable. 

Madame Pepita. Oh, Vizconde! 

AuGUSTO. My heart is broken. What is the good of a 
heart nowadays? Nobody seems to have one. My heart 
will be my ruin. 

Madame Pepita. A tender heart is a priceless treasure. 

AuGUSTO. But so expensive! Man cannot exist with- 
out woman, woman cannot exist without money. 

Madame Pepita. Don't let that worry you, Vizconde. 



200 MADAME PEPITA [ACT II] 

All things come to him who waits, even when it seems 
impossible. If you are in trouble, come to me. I have 
the gift of sympathy. 

AuGUSTO. So I am coming to you. Can you let me 
have the seven hundred at once? I am in a hurry, or I 
should not ask. 

Madame Pepita. Just a moment, while I write the 
check. 

[Madame Pepita retires. Augusto paces back and 
forth, admiring himself in the mirror. Presently Cata- 
LINA enters, approaching the table which contains the 
papers, without noticing AuGUSTO. They collide 
with a violent shock while he is still absorbed in the 
contemplation of his person in the glass.^ 
Catalina. Oh ! Excuse me. 
Augusto. Can't you see where you are going? 
Catalina. Can't you see anything but yourself? 
Puppy! [Making a face, which he sees in the mirror.] 
Augusto. Let me give you a piece of advice, young 
lady. Don't you make faces at me. 

Catalina. If you weren't so stuck on yourself, you 
wouldn't have noticed it. 

Augusto. It wouldn't do you any harm to be a little 
stuck on yourself. 

Catalina. Wouldn't it? 

Augusto. Do you take out a license for that poodle 
effect with the hair? 

Catalina. When it rains, don't forget yours is gummed 
down and glued. 

Augusto. Can't you let me alone? 
Catalina. Who are you, anyway? [Seating herself at 
the table, she opens a drawing book in which she proceeds 
to copy a map.] 

[Augusto stalks up and down without speaking. 
They exchange glances of mutual contempt from time 
to time, until the entrance of Madame Pepita with 



[ACT //] MADAME PEPITA 201 

the check. Highly gratified at finding them together^ 
she beams upon them with maternal tenderness.^ 

Madamb Pepita. [Entering.] The pooT dears are em- 
barrassed. What a picture they would make! [To 
AuGUSTO.] The check, Vizconde. 

AuGUSTO. Thanks. I shall never forget this — I feel 
like another man with this money. I may have to go to 
work to repay you, Pepita; love is a great leveler. Ah, for 
love's sweet sake! I'm off. . . . [Rushes out without pay- 
ing any attention to Catalina.] 

Madame Pepita. [Deeply affected.] For love's sweet 
sake! [Looking at her daughter.] Poor Vizconde! 

Alberto. [Appearing in the doorway.] May I come 
in? 

Madame Pepita. What is the matter with you? 

Alberto. No, it's the proprietor, who wishes the 
samples of English point, and the gold galloons; they're re- 
required. 

Madame Pepita. God knows what's become of them 
by this time. 

Alberto. We need them to fill an order, just received. 

Madame Pepita. Very well. Wait, and I'll have 
them brought, if they can be found. [RetireSj leaving 
Catalina with Alberto. Both smile, and Catalina con- 
tinues her work.] 

Alberto. [Shyly.] Pleasant day, isn't it? 

Catalina. Yes, very. [A pause, during which she con- 
tinues working, while he stands a little way off without 
removing his eyes from her.] Won't you sit down? 

Alberto. Thanks. You are very kind. [Sits down 
at the farther end of the room. Another pause.] Are you 
sketching? 

Catalina. [Smiling timidly.] No, I don't know how 
to sketch; I'm copying a map. 

Alberto. [ Unconscious of what he is saying.] Ah ! A 
map? 



202 MADAME PEPITA [ACT //] 

Catalina. It's the map of Europe. 

[Another pause. Catalina draws busily; then stops 
and sucks her pencil.^ 

Alberto. [Rising.l Pardon . . . please don't suck 
your pencil. 

Catalina. Eh ? 

Alberto. It may be impertinent, but it grates upon m. 
nerves. 

Catalina. [Ready to cry.'\ It does look horrid, doesn't 
it? 

Alberto. [Effusively.l No! You couldn't possibly 
do anything that looked horrid, because .. . . because . . . 
well, of course not. 

[Another pause. Catalina draws industriously 
and breaks the point of the pencil.^ 

Catalina. Oh, dear, I've broken the point! 
[Taking a penknife , she hacks a fearful looking point after 
great effort; then inspects it with a sigh.^^ 

Alberto. [Impetuously, rising again.^ Pardon. That 
is not the way to sharpen a pencil. This is the way. 
[Rapidly and easily making a perfect point. "l It's very 
simple. 

Catalina. [Admiringly.^ Oh, what a beautiful point! 
You certainly are a handy man. 

Alberto. That's my business. 

Catalina. Oh . . .yes! You're an artist. Do you 
really paint pictures? 

Alberto. I should like to, but I do not. 

Catalina. Why not? 

Alberto. I am too poor. My mother is a widow. 

Catalina. [Interrupting, charmed.'\ Just like me! 

Alberto. [Without heeding the interruption.'^ Only 
I have six young brothers and sisters. Mother teaches 
school in a town not far from here, and she says that only 
rich people can afford to be artists, so she wants me to be 
a clerk in "La Sultana," as the proprietor is my uncle. 
She thinks, when he dies, he may leave the shop to me, 



[ACT II] MADAME PEPITA 203 

since he's a bachelor, and then, naturally we'll all be 
rich, and we can educate the other children. However, I 
see no indications . . . but of course that does not interest 
you. 

Catalina. [Earnestly.] Yes, it does; very much. 

Alberto. I am twenty-two now, and all I do is to 
carry bundles back and forth to dressmakers and other stupid 
people who have not the first idea about art. Pardon 
me . . . 

Catalina. No, you are right. It would be a great deal 
better to paint pictures. 

Alberto. [Enraptured.] Yes, wonderful pictures, 
marvellous pictures, such as nobody has ever seen before, 
palpitating with sunshine and light! Pictures of the sea, 
the sky — the deep blue Italian sky! Ah, Italy! Rome! 

Catalina. [Inffenuously.] Rome is here on the map. 

Alberto. Rome is in paradise! 

Catalina. Is the sky really so blue there? 

Alberto. So blue that it is the despair of those who 
worship her. 

Catalina. Really? I hadn't heard. . . . Funny, isn't 
it? I've marked the name in blue ink. 

Alberto. Mark it in gold and precious stones. 

Catalina. Why don't you go if you want to? There's 
a railroad here, or you can take the boat, across the sea. 

Alberto. The boat and the railroad cost money, and I 
have no money. 

Catalina. Oh, don't worry about that. How much 
do you need? — because we can ask mother for it. 

Alberto. Mother? No! That would not be right. 

Catalina. Yes, it would. Everybody asks her. Be- 
sides, we're rich now. We've inherited a million, and it's 
in the bank, and all we have to do is sign a paper, and 
they give us all we want. 

Alberto. You are kind and generous, but I could never 
accept it. Thanks just the same; I shall never forget your 
kindness. I am grateful, really. Could I kiss your hand? 



204 MADAME PEPITA [ACT 11] 

Catalina. [Taken aback, hiding her hands.] Oh, no! 

Alberto. Why not? 

Catalina. Because . . . because they're all covered 
with ink. 

Alberto. [Seizing her hands.] What of it? They 
are lovely, they are dear and sweet, the hands of a generous 
woman, who understands, who sympathizes. 

Catalina. [After a pause.] So you do think you will 
go to Rome, then, after all? 

Alberto. Yes, I shall; I have a plan. I work all day, 
but I study at night. I attend a life class, and when the 
next competition takes place, I shall enter, I shall win a 
prize, and then I shall go, no matter what mother says, 
and when I come back I shall be a great painter. I wish 
you could see the marvellous pictures I shall paint in Italy. 

Catalina. [Somewhat anxiously.] I suppose while 
you are there you will paint some lovely ladies? 

Alberto. Oh, naturally! 

Catalina. Like the ones you were telling us about . . . 
with lines, you know, and proportions? 

Alberto. 'When I am famous, I intend to paint your 
picture. 

Catalina. My picture? 

Alberto. And win a prize with it. Yes, indeed! 

Catalina. But I ... I ... At least mother thinks 
so . . . [Looking at herself in the mirror.] And >he's 
right, too. I haven't any proportions at all. [Almost re- 
duced to tears.] 

Alberto. You haven't? 

Catalina. And I don't know how to dress or fix my 
hair. [Crying.] You can see for yourself. 

Alberto. [Greatly troubled.] No, no, indeed! Not 
at all! You are . . . yes, you are, senorita . . . Yes, in- 
deed you are . . . [Choking, almost ready to shed tears 
himself.] You, you . . . you have character! 

Catalina. [Overcome with surprise and delight.^ I 
have? 



[ACT II] MADAME PEPITA 205 

[Cristina enters with two boxes of samples, with- 
out noticing Alberto.] 
Cristina. So you got rid of it, did you? 
Alberto. [Moving ajjuay from Catalina.] It? 
Cristina. Oh, are you still sticking around? Here are 
your samples, and you needn't bring any more, because 
Madame Pepita is retiring from business. 
Alberto. Thank you so much. 

[Cristina goes out. Alberto is about to resume 
the conversation, when Don Guillermo enters, carry- 
ing several packages, one of which, apparently, contains 
a bottle of champagne. Alberto bo^s and disap- 
pears.] 
Adiosf 

[Catalina makes no reply.] 
Dqn Guillermo. [Stepping to one side to aHow 
Alberto to pass.] Adiosf [Eyeing him, curiously.] 
Here are the meringues. [Handing the package to Cata- 
lina, who takes it mechanically, and remains standing with 
it in her hand.] Who is the young man? 

Catalina. [Almost choking.] It's the boy from the 
silk shop. 

[Don Guillermo deposits the packages upon the 
table.] 
Don Guillermo, is painting a nice business? 

Don Guillermo. It is more than a business. It is an 
art. 

Catalina. But is it nice or isn't it? 
Don Guillermo. That depends upon hpw one paints. 
A good painter has an excelleiht business. 
Catalina. But a bad painter? 

Don Guillermo. A bad painter, my dear, cannot ex- 
actly be sent to jail, but he belongs there. 

Catalina. [Alarmed.] Not really? Is it awfully 
hard to win the prix de Rome? 

Don Guillermo. It will be in the next competition, as 
I shall be one of the judges. I am chairman of the jury. 



2o6 MADAME PEPITA [ACT II] 

Catalina. [Torn between hope and fear.] You are? 

Don Guiluermo. Yes.. Why all this sudden interest 
in painting? 

Catalina. Don Guillermo, when a painter says that 
you have character, doe^ that mean that you are pretty 
or the opposite? 

Don Guillermo. Neither. It means that you have 
something characteristic about you, something, original, dis- 
tinguishing you from other people. It means that you are 
interesting. 

Catalina. But is it a compliment, or isn't it? 

Don Guillermo. It is the nicest kind of a compliment. 

Catalina. One more question: Does a woman have 
to be a countess because she's rich? 

Don Guillermo. [Alarmed.] A counfess? What 
makes you ask that? 

Catauna. Nothing, only mother thought perhaps I'd 
better be one. 

Don Guillermo. [Exercised.] She did? When? 

Catalina, Just now, while you were out, after talking 
to the Conde. 

Don Guillfrmo. Never! There must be some mis- 
take. 

Catalina. Why must there? 

Don Guillermo. [Greatly agitated.] No, you don't 
have to be a countess. It is absurd, and I shall take care 
that you don't become one. Never! 

Catalina. What's the difference, anjrway? Why fuss 
so much about it? 

Don Guillermo. [Striding up and down, muttering 
to himself.] This is too much! Outrageous! I shall 
make this my business. 

Catalina. [Timidly and affectionately.] Why, Don 
Guillermo? Have I done anything wrong? Are you 
angry with me? [Kissing his hand.] 

Don Guillermo. No, no. [With a paternal caress.] 



[ACT //] MADAME PEPITA 207 

I was thinking of something else. [To himself. 1 Keep 
cool! Be calm! [Aloud.] This is my business. 

Catalina. [Affectionately^ hesitating what to do.} 
Before you settle down, would you like me to bring your 
cap and slippers? 

[Madame Pepita enters. She stops short upon 
discovering Don Guillermo.] 

Don Guillermo. [Pleasantly.} Well, I am here, you 
see. Is dinner ready? 

Madame Pepita. [Disconcerted; then frigidly.} Din- 
ner? . . . 

Don Guillermo. [Handing her a small package.} I 
brought you some nice iced lady-fingers, and a bottle of cham- 
pagne to enliven the repast. We are fond of them, so 
we shall enjoy ourselves in love and good fellowship. 

Madame Pepita. [Visibly embarrassed.} Yes . . . 

Don Guillermo. [Hands CataliNa the bottle.} Put 
this on the ice, too. Oh, by the way, here are some potato 
chips a la inglesa. They are one thing your cook does 
not do to perfection. [Handing her another package.} 
Crisp them. Mind the bottle . . . [Catauna goes out. 
To Madame Pepita^ making himself perfectly at home.} 
Well, this house has become a vice with me. Dona 
Pepita. You and Catalina have taken complete possession 
of my heart. I never cared for a family, but now I could 
not get along without the illusion of family life which you 
supply. One of these days you will be removing me ixottk 
the door with a broom. 

Madame Pepita. [Greatly embarrassed, steeling her^ 
self with a determined effort.} Don Guillermo, that is eX' 
actly what I wanted to speak to you about. 

Don Guillermo. [Surprised.} Eh? 

Madame Pepita. [Scarcely able to articulate.} Sinctf 
my daughter has left the room . . . 

Don Guillermo. [Becoming serious.} What do you 
mean? 



2o8 MADAME PEPITA [ACT II] 

Madame Pepita. To begin with — now don't be of- 
fended, it's not as bad as that. That is, it's unpleasant, of 
course, especially for me, Don Guillermo, because . . . 
Well, the fact is you've been very kind to us, and all 
that, and we can never thank you for what you've done 
and are doing for my daughter's education. I know it 
can never be paid for, not to speak of your having taken 
all this trouble, seeing that she's nobody and you are who 
you aref, and know what you do ... I don't say so be- 
cause she's my daughter, but a princess wouldn't be a great 
deal for you to be giving lessons to . . . 

Don Guillermo. Yes, but come to the point. What 
do you mean to say? 

Madame Pepita. Well, Don Guillermo, circumstances 
alter, you know, so what used to be ... It does seem 
too bad, though, doesn't it? It can't go on forever. You 
know what I mean. 

Don Guillermo. I certainly do not. Explain your- 
self. 

Madame Pepita. Well, we're just two unprotected 
women, and everybody's so ready to gossip about what is 
none of their business, and to make things worse than 
they are, so people might think . . . Especially since I 
have a past, I'm sorry to say, which is nobody's business, 
either. Anyhow, when people were coming to this house 
because I was a dressmaker, it didn't make so much dif- 
ference who they came to see, but now that I've retired, 
it don't look respectable . . . [Swallowing hard.] Do 
you understand me? 

Don Guillermo. I certainly do — better than I could 
wish. [Madame Pepita heaves a sigh of relief.] You 
think, or somebody thinks for you, that my visits may com- 
promise your reputation, or your daughter's? 

Madame Pepita. Virgins and martyrs, don't be of- 
fended, Don Guillermo! 

Don Guillermo. What hurts does not give offense. 

Madame Pepita. But — 



[ACT II] MADAME PEPITA 209 

Don Guillermo. You wish me, then, to confine my- 
self to giving Catalina lessons? 

Madame Pepita. That won't be so easy, either, I'm 
afraid, now that we are moving to Escorial to live. 

Don Guillermo. I have absolutely nothing to detain 
me in Madrid. 

Madame Pepita. My daughter is grown, and she will 
probably marry before long, so, under the circum- 
stances . . . 

Don Guillermo. Say no more; I understood from the 
beginning. I merely wished to hear it stated in plain words. 
iYou want to get rid of me. 

Madame Pepita. No, no indeed! We shall always 
be glad to see you, whenever you have time. Why not run 
out some Sunday for dinner? 

Don Guillermo. [After a pause.] I see only one- 
drawback to your plan; it won't work. 

Madame Pepita. It won't? 

Don Guillermo. [fVith dignity and restraint.] 1 
shall not give up Catalina. 

Madame Pepita. [Alarmed.] Don Guillermo! 

Don Guillermo. [Smiling.] Don't take it so hard. 
As you say, it sounds worse than it is. [Deeply moved, but 
assuming a satiric tone, in order to conceal his emotion.] 
I have spent the forty-five years of my life so completely 
shut off from the world, that I have scarcely become ac- 
quainted with myself. Now that I look back, I realize 
that I have wasted my time. My mother was wrapped 
up in me, and watched over me until a few years ago, so 
that I never had occasion for another woman's love. I 
grew up a selfish old bachelor, salted down in my books. 
But the strange part of ft is, that while I have never cared 
for women, I have always been fond of children, no matter 
how ugly or dirty they might be, as they stumbled along. I 
yearn to take the little dears by the hand, to teach and pro- 
tect them. Love between men and women is a relation of 
equals, it may even imply inferiority on the part of the 



2IO MADAME PEPITA [ACT II] 

man. Perhaps I am proud — it is one of my failings; but 
I have never felt like kneeling before a woman, though I 
have often had a desire to hold a loving creature in my arms. 
[Don Guillermo, in reality, has been talking to himself, 
his eyes fixed upon the floor, but, when he arrives at 
this point he suddenly becomes aware of the presence of 
Madame Pepita^ and turns toward her.'\ I beg your 
pardon . . . 

Madame Pepita. [Vastly impressed, but without 
understanding one wordJ] Pardon me. 

Don Guillermo. Since I have known Catalina, this 
desire has become concrete. She is everything to me. I 
could not say whether she is quick or dull; I am not sure 
whether she is beautiful or plain; I can not even tell you 
the color of her eyes; but I feel that she is my daughter, 
much more than she is her father's, yes more, certainly 
much more than she is yours. 

Madame Pepita. But it seems to me . . . 

Don Guillermo. Much more. You brought her into 
the world, but I have brought a new world to her, fresher, 
more striking, materially and spiritually; than the old. I 
have rejuvenated myself so as to bring my mind down to 
her level. I talk like a child so as to companion with 
her innocence, and I should gladly forego all the joys of 
this world and the next, merely for the pleasure of holding 
her hand while she writes. 

Madame Pepita. Why, Don Guillermo! 

Don Guillermo. [Firmly.l No, I cannot sur- 
render the child. She requires protection which is abso- 
lutely disinterested and sincere. Perhaps you may need it, 
too. I know what I am doing . . ^ although you would be 
entirely within your rights if you put me into the street. 

Madame Pepita. I shouldn't think of such a thing. 

Don Guillermo. I should not question your decision. 
Your point of view is as proper as it is absurd. Legally, 
I have rx) right to paternity. My position is extra legal, 
yet it can be recognized and reduced to legal status; and 



[ACT II] MADAME PEPITA an 

the sooner it is done, the better for us all. Don't stare at 
me — I am not crazy. Desperate diseases demand desperate 
remedies. The pill is a bitter one, but I shall swallow 
it. You are a woman of courage yourself. 

Madame Pepita. What in heaven's name are you talk- 
ing about? 

Don Guillermo. I must be accepted in this house a? 
a husband and a father, otherwise I shall not be free to act 
— I shall be hampered. Why not face the facts? We 
must marry, and conform to the conventions of society, 
however inconvenient. I am wiliinig to marry you. 

Madame Pepita. You? 

Don Guillermo. [Visibly worried.] You, yes and I 
... if you are agreeable. 

Madame Pepita. [Speechless with amazement.] You 
and I? 

Don Guillermo. You and I. Pardon my abrupt- 
ness — you never occurred to me before, I mean, in the light 
of a wife. 

Madame Pepita. But you knew that I had been 
married ? 

Don Guillermo. [More and more disturbed.] Be 
that as it may, this would be a marriage of convenience, pure 
and simple. 

Madame Pepita. Pure and simple? 

Don Guillermo. A moral necessity; love does not 
enter into it. But we shall be spared embarrassment. You 
are rich, while I am not poor, which will be sufficient to 
silence evil tongues, although the opinion of others has no 
influence with me. I have means to support myself and 
to permit me to indulge in some pleasures, so money will 
not be lacking. If you will marry me, I offer to defray 
the household expenses like a good husband, while you 
dispose of your million in any way you think con- 
venient. I shall not even take note of its existence. I 
am a famous man — my name appears in the papers. 
I have the entree of the Palace, and a place of honor at 



212 MADAME PEPITA [ACT IlJ 

all Court ceremonies, which, naturally, you will share with 
me. You will be entitled to a reserved seat at the functions 
of the Academy; the doorkeepers will bow whenever you 
appear. You will be the distinguished wife of an illustri- 
ous author, of an eminent critic, who is one of the glories 
of his country. Whenever a monument is unveiled or a 
cornerstone laid, you will be among those who remain for 
refreshments, and if photographs are taken for La 
Ilustracion or Blanco y Negro you will be immortalized 
with me in the group. 

Madame Pepita. But . . . are you in earnest? 

Don Guillermo. [Offended.] Do I look like a man 
who would treat marriage as a joke? 

Madame Pepita. If that is the case . . . 

Don Guillermo. Your fondest dreams will be real- 
ised. One of my ancestors crossed the sea with Hernan 
Cortes, and undertook the conquest of America. He proved 
so adept at killing Indians that His Majesty conferred a 
coat of arms upon him, which I have somewhere under 
cobwebs at home. You are at liberty to dust it off, since 
you are partial to nobility, and to display it upon our note- 
paper, so that people can see who we are. 

Madame Pepita. [Deeply affected.] Don Guillermo! 

Don Guillermo. And on the door of our automobile 
too, for we shall have one. We shall get along faster, 
it is permissible for a man nowadays to blow his own horn. 
[Greatly excited, striding to and fro, until, finally, he comes 
face to face with Madame Pepita.] Well, what is your 
answer ? 

Madame Pepita. It would be very nice, of course. 
Protection means so much to a woman, especially when it's 
a celebrated man. But Catalina . . . 

Don Guillermo. With due respect to the Slav 
aristocracy, Catalina will be far better oflE as the step- 
daughter of a Spanish gentleman than as the natural daughter 
of a Russian duke. She will be more marriageable, too, 
and it is no compliment to myself. 



[ACT II] MADAME PEPITA ai3 

Madame Pepita. No, of course not. But ... I must 
say you don't seem enthusiastic. 

Don Guillermo. I know what I am doing, and that is 
enough. You are not responsible. 

Madame Pepita. But how do you suppose that I feel? 

Don Guillermo. My reasons are disinterested, so for- 
give me ; I am anxious, too, to have you satisfied. I am nerv- 
ous, upset ... I appreciate what you are. Besides, I am a 
gentleman, who respects the sex. I do not love you — I 
shall not pretend that I do — but whatever I have is yours. 
You will never regret having accepted my name. \^A 
pause.] That is, if you do accept it. 

Madame Pepita. [Vastly moved.] Certainly. What 
else can I do? But I wonder what my daughter will say. 
I shall never have the courage to face her. 

Don Guillermo. Leave that to me. [At the door.] 
Catalina! Catalina! 

Catalina. [Outside.] I'm coming. [A pause. Don 
Guillermo and Madame Pepita wait, but Catalina does 
not appear.] 

Madame Pepita. [Impatiently.] Catalina, are you 
coming or are you not? 

Catalina. [Outside.] Yes, I'm coming. [After a 
moment she enters, not yet quite fastened into a flamingly 
audacious gown, which scarcely permits her to walk. In 
the attempt, she entangles herself in the train.] Did you 
call? 

Madame Pepita. But . . . What have you been do- 
ing? 

Catalina. Dressing. 

Madame Pepita. What in the devil's name have you 
got on? 

Catalina. It's the latest model. I picked it out my- 
self. I'm seventeen now, and I'm no Cinderella any more. 
I have lines and proportions, and it's time to show my char- 
acter. [Looking at herself in the mirror, turning half 
way round and tripping over her train as she does so.] 



214 MADAME PEPITA [ACT II] 

Madame Pepita. [Staring at her, completely stupe- 
fied.] You? In that dress? [With sudden inspiration.] 
Praise God, it's the Vizconde! A miracle of love I 

Curtain 



ACT III 

Garden of a country house at Escorial, hopelessly modern 
and in bad taste. A fountain in the middle contains the 
familiar group of two children huddled together beneath an 
umbrella. This masterpiece is zinc, painted to look like 
marble. The ground is neatly sanded. At the rear, a 
wall separates the garden from that of the adjoining house. 
Morning glories cover the wall, vying in luxuriance with a 
number of fruit bearing vines, while, above the wall, the tops 
of the trees of the neighboring garden may be seen. The 
facade of the house is upon the left. The building is an 
absolutely modern, two-storied structure, boasting a flight 
of steps, a glass baldaquin, a balustrade decorated with urns 
which are too large for it, and a crystal ball which hangs 
from the baldaquin in such a manner as to reflect a view of 
the garden. Half a dozen wicker chairs are scattered about 
between the fountain and the house, as well as a small 
wicker table, on which a sewing basket reposes, also of 
wicker ware. 

The garden extends some distance toward the right, the 
street gate being a little farther on. 

The morning is a bright, sunny one. 

When the curtain rises the stage is empty. After a mo- 
ment, Don Luis appears above the wall, followed shortly 
by AuGUSTO. They wear light outing f^its and broad- 
brimmed straw hats, and ascend cautiously by means of a 
step-ladder from the neighboring garden. Don Luis car- 
ries a sharp-pointed stick in one hand. 

Don Luis. [To Augusto, who has not yet appeared.'^ 
Up, my son! You ought to be ashamed of yourself not 
to be able to climb a wall at twenty-five. 

Augusto. [Appearing above the wall, in obvious ill 

ais 



2i6 MADAME PEPITA [ACT III] 

humor.^ I am able, but ascensions among wall flowers 
do not appeal to me. 

Don Luis. You fail to appreciate the delights of coun* 
try life. Give me air, fresh air! What a morning for 
filching one's neighbor's figs ! [Extending the stick toward a 
fig tree, whose top obtrudes between the wall and the 
house.] Aha! The biggest one — it's for you. Now, my 
turn . . . 

AuGUSTO. [Placing the fig on a leaf, which serves as 
a substitute for a plate.] Why not ask Pepita for them? 
She would hand them over already picked. It would be 
more convenient. 

Don Luis. The pleasures of the chase, my boy. [Re- 
citing.] 

'Tlerida, sweeter far 

Than fruits of neighbor's garden are!" 

AuGUSTO. [Impatiently.] Bah ! 

Don Luis. Besides, by removing Pepita's figs, we de- 
prive that literary husband of hers of their enjoyment. He 
has been eying them for the past week, watching them ripen 
to sweeten his lunch. 

AuGUSTO. You'll lose your balance and topple over. 

Don Luis. Don't worry about me. [Drawing back a 
little.] Some one is coming. 

[Catalina is heard calling in the house.] 

Catalina. Papa ! Papa ! 

AuGUSTO. The daughter! Down quick! 

Don Luis. Never retreat under fire. 

[Catalina enters from the house and crosses the 
garden. She has discarded short dresses, and now 
wears a simple, smart morning frock instead.] 

Catalina. [Looking about.] Papa! He isn't here. 

Don Luis. Good morning, little rosebud. 

Catalina. [Startled.] Eh? [Looking up at the 
wall.] What are you doing up there? 

Don Luis. [Affably.] Waiting for you. 

Catalina. Me ? 



[ACT III] MADAME PEPITA ai; 

Don Luis. To tell you how charming you are. 

Catalina. Awfully sweet, I am sure. You almost 
scared me to death. [Goes off at the left.] 

AuGUSTO. Ingratiating creature. 

Don Luis. Yes. Wait until you are married. 

AuGUSTO. Still harping on that, eh? 

Don Luis. I am more enthusiastic than ever. 

AuGUSTO. I could not endure the sight of her, painted 
and gilded. 

Don Luis. You place your expectations too high. 
Don't be so deucedly romantic. She is pretty, and will 
learn to wear clothes, to develop personality. Suppose 
you don't love her? After all, that is not expected. Marry 
with your eyes open, like other people. 

AuGUSTO. But she can't endure the sight of me, either. 

Don Luis. What of it? You are young and dress 
well — that ought to satisfy her. You are noble, besides. 

AuGUSTO. I have no money. 

Don Luis. After you are married, you will have as 
much as your wife. 

AuGUSTO. TJiat follows, naturally. 

Don Luis. Naturally. My son, we are confronted with 
a crisis. We have not a penny in the world, and this 
Academician is insufferable. Pepita may become dis- 
illusioned at any moment, and the girl fall in love with 
another. We subsist as by a miracle. It is absolutely es- 
sential that you propose today — sacrifice yourself. What 
the devil! If I were in your place, if I were twenty-five, 
I should sacrifice myself with alacrity. [Losing his bal- 
ance in his excitement, he is about to tumble into the gar- 
den.] 

AuGUSTO. Be careful or you'll fall! Climb down. 

Don Luis. Perhaps it would be best. We are in no 
position to argue. Lend me a hand . . . Oblige me this 
time, and take the stick. What do you care? Steady the 
ladder . . . [Disappearing.] Marriage usually steadies 
a man, anyway. 



2i8 MADAME PEPITA [ACT III 

[As soon as they are out of sight, Catalina and 
Don Guillermo are heard upon the left.} 

Catalina. [As she becomes audible.] I searched 
through the garden for you. How did you manage to 
sh"p out? 

Don Guillermo. [Smilinff.] Now that you have 
grown to be a young lady, not to say a coquette, you spend 
all your time dressing. I could not wait. 

Catalina. Yes, I am a young lady. How do you 
like my gown? 

Don Guillermo. Very pretty. You look well in it. 

Catalina. Do you think it's a good thing for a woman 
to fuss over her looks, or don't you think so? 

Don Guillermo. If she is clean and healthy, and 
there is nothing false about her, I see no occasion for her 
to fuss. 

Catalina. [Smoothing her hair, uneasily.] I suppose 
you're going back to Madrid pretty soon, aren't you? 

Don Guillermo. Now that the competition is over, 
there is nothing to take me back. You«r protege will win 
the prize. 

Catalina. [Her heart in her throat.] Honestly? 

Don Guillermo. Yes, he is certain to be a great painter 
some day. 

Catalina. Then will he have to go to Rome? 

Don Guillermo. Assuredly. How are the figs, by the 
way? I wonder if they are ripe yet. They hang so high 
that we shall have to climb the tree for them. Get me 
a basket. 

Catalina. [Taking a basket from the table.] Put 
some leaves in the bottom to make it look nice. 

[They retire behind the corner of the house, un- 
der the fig tree. After a brief interval, Madame 
Pepita enters, breathlessly, from the street, hatless, but 
carrying a parasol. Andres^ a village lad, evidently 
impressed but lately into the family service, follows.] 



[ACT III] MADAME PEPITA 219 

Madame Pepita. Ask Paco to help you vrnpack the 
crate. 

Andres. Yes, senora. 

Madame Pepita. Then you can go to the mason's and 
tell the head man to come here at once. Oh, and be sure 
you count the bags of lime and the bricks that the work- 
men bring very carefully, because the number they charge 
me for is outrageous. The way I am spending money 
here is something wicked. 

Andres. The Conde says that he don't need any help 
to count bricks ; he says he's managing your property himself, 
and he don't want me around when he counts the lime, 
either. 

Madame Pepita. [Looking about, indignant and sur- 
prised.] But where are the benches? What have you 
done with the benches? Didn't you set them out? 

Andres. Just as you said, but as soon as you left we 
took them away again, because. . . . 

Madame Pepita. Biecause what? 

Andres. The gentleman told us to. 

Madame Pepita. My husband? 

Andres. Your husband. 

Madame Pepita. Why? 

Andres. Because . . . because he said they were monu- 
ments of vulgarity; 

Madame Pepita. [With suppressed ire.] Very well. 

Andres. Is there anything else? 

Madame Pepita. [Venting her spleem.] Only get out 
of my sight! 

Andres. Excuse me. [Goes out.] 

Madame Pepita. [Pacing up and downs] Monu- 
ments of vulgarity! Monuments of vulgarity! [In mingled 
rage and despair.] 

[Don Guillermo enters.] 

Don Guillermo. Apparently we raise figs for the neigh- 
bors. We are conducting a charitable institution. [Dis- 



220 MADAME PEPITA lACT III] 

covering Madame Pepita^ and altering his tone.] Hello! 
I didn't see you. 

Madame Pepita. ISweetly.} Why? Is anything 
wrong? 

Don Guillermo. Yes, our figs are gone. We have 
lost six — six fat ones, oozing honey. 

Madame Pepita. The sparrows must have eaten them. 

Catalina. [Entering behind Don Guillermo^ deeply 
dejected.] No, mamma, it wasn't the sparrows; it was 
the Conde and his son. I saw them on the wall with a 
long stick. They said they were looking for me, which I 
knew, of course, was a lie. 

Madame Pepita. Of course. They are nothing if not 
polite. [Wishing to cut short the conversation.] 

Catalina. I thought you ought to know, because they 
are there all the time. Yesterday, they reached through 
the fence in the garden patch and stole all our raspberries, 
and they threw a stone into the poultry yard day before 
yesterday and frightened the chickens, so one flew over 
the wall into their yard, and they never sent it back, be- 
cause they ate it, if you want to -know what they did with 
it. 

Madame Pepita. How perfectly silly! Run in and 
set the table for lunch as fast as you can. We expect com- 
pany. 

Catalina. Again? Are they coming to lunch again 
today ? 

Madame Pepita. Why not? Run in and do as I say. 

Catalina. Yes, mamma. [Waving to Don Guil- 
lermo from the top of the steps.] Wait for me! I won't 
be long. 

Don Guillermo. [Waving back.] I'll be there be- 
fore you. 

Madame Pepita. [Going up to Don Guillermo.] 
Don't you like it? 

Don Guillermo. Certainly. 

Madame Pepita. Do you mind their coming to lunch? 



[ACT III] MADAME PEPITA 221 

Don Guillermo. This is your house ; invite whom you 
please — you are at liberty to do so. 

Madame Pepita. I should be sorry if you didn't like 
it, because I always feel that Don Luis and Augustof are 
members of the family. However, if you object . . . 

Don Guillermo. It is a matter of complete indiffer- 
ence to me. 

Madame Pepita. Don Luis has some important busi- 
ness to talk over. They were coming anyhow. 

Don Guillermo. Relative to the purchase of the ad- 
joining property from one of his friends? 

Madame Pepita. [Slightly embarrassed.'] No, this is 
about some mines. The Conde felt terribly because that 
investment turned out the way it did. But this is different. 
It's a stock transaction. A big company has been formed to 
take in everybody. If you care to see a plan of the 
mine . . . 

Don Guillermo. No, thank you. 

Madame Pepita. Aren't you interested? 

Don Guillermo. No. I have no desire to interfere 
in the management of your estate, nevertheless I advise you 
to be cautious. Receive this gentleman with the proper 
warmth, only be careful to confine your expansions to the 
sentimental sphere, where they are not dangerous. When 
he and his son install themselves as tenants, rent free, in the 
very first house that you build, leaving us to stand around 
and wait for the paint to dry on the second, I say nothing. 
But don't let your affections run away with your princi- 
pal. I warn you ; you are heading straight for ruin in the 
arms of your friend. 

Madame Pepita. [Sentimentally.] Everything Don 
Luis does seems wrong to you. 

Don Guillermo. If you are going to cry over it, I 
shall retire. Lose your money and enjoy yourself. I am 
willing. 

Madame Pepita. [Verging toward tears.] It is 
awfully hard to please everybody. 



222 MADAME PEPITA [ACT III] 

Don Guillermo. You are under no obligation to please 
me. 

Madame Pepita. [As before.] But I'm sure I'd like 
to. [Siffhirtff.] That is, if such a thing is possible. 

Don Guillermo. [Surprised.] What is the trouble 
now? 

Madame Pepita. [Assuming a martyred air.] Noth- 
ing. Although . . . We had better talk of something else. 
[Don Guillermo stares at her.] You had those benches 
taken away that I had set out. 

Don Guillermo. Oh, is that what you have against 
me? Yes, I did. Pardon my interference in your domestic 
arrangements, but for once it was too much for me. Arti- 
ficial stone! Imitation trees! I cannot abide the abomina- 
tions. They are . . . 

Madame Pepita. [Interrupting.] Monuments of vul- 
garity! Is that it? 

Don Guillermo. Worse! They are immoral. 

Madame Pepita. Immoral ? I cannot see how. There 
were no statues on them. [Staring at him as if he were 
crazy.] 

Don Guillermo. What is there immoral in a statue? 
It's the deception of the thing. 

Madame Pepita. [Failing to understand.] Decep- 
tion? 

Don Guillermo. Yes, benches which pretend to be 
stone and make believe to be wood, when they have never 
even seen a forest or a quarry — they dissemble their true 
nature, they are impostures. This door, which looks like 
mahogany when it is miserable pine, these solid marble 
children who at heart are hollow zinc, these bars and grat- 
ings which pass for wrought iron and are the cheapest of 
calamine — they are impostures, cheats, perpetual lies! In 
a word, they are immoral. Furthermore, they are ugly. 

Madame Pepita. But if all our furniture has got to be 
genuine, it will cost a fortune. 
Don Guillermo. Then go without; don't counterfeit. 



{ACT III] MADAME PEPITA 233 

These everlasting frauds, which deceive nobody but our- 
selves, create an atmosphere of deception. How do I know 
that a woman who swathes her neck in cat's fur which is 
dyed to look like sable, will not as easily deceive her hus- 
band if she has the opportunity? 

Madame Pepita. Don't suggest such a thing! Suppose 
somebody should hear? 
[Andres enters.] 

Andres. Senora, the crate is unpacked. Do you want 
us to bring it in, or what shall we do with it? 

Madame Pepita. Yes, bring it here. [Andres retires. 
Madame Pepita turns to Don Guillermo.] I'm so glad 
it came, just when we were talking about art. You'll like 
this when you see it. 

[Andres and a second youth enter. Between them, 
they carry a life-sized figure of a hideous negro, seated 
in a chair, smoking a cigarette.] 

Andres. Where shall we put it? 

Madame Pepita. {Ecstatically.] Set it there. 

[The boys set the negro carefully upon the ground.] 

Don Guillermo. [Clasping his head with his hands.] 
Merciful Powers! 

Madame Pepita. [Delighted.] Do you like it? [Dis- 
couraged.] You don't like that, either! [Sinking into a 
chair and beginning to cry.] 

Don Guillermo. But, Pepita! Don't cry, please! It's 
not worth it, really. 

Andres. Shall we leave it there, Senora? 

Madame Pepita. I don't know. Anywhere. Throw 
it down the well! 

Don Guillermo. No, stand it in the hall. It was 
intended for the hall, was it not? 

Madame Pepita. [Through her tears.] Yes, for the 
hall. 

Don Guillermo. Put it where it belongs. [The boys 
mount the steps and stagger into the house.] Don't feel so 
badly. [Relenting.] It's too awful! If you like it, I am 



224 MADAME PEPITA [ACT III] 

satisfied; only don't cry. I must go to the city — on busi- 
ness — I may have time yet to run to the station and catch 
the express. Forgive me . . . Catalina! What has be- 
come of Catalina? 

Catalina. [Appearing at the window.] Did you 
call? 

Don Guillermo. What do you say to a stroll to the 
station ? 

Catalina. I'll be ready in a minute; I've finished the 
table. Wait under the pine tree. 

Don Guillermo. Bring your hat along. It's growing 
pretty hot, 

[Don Guillermo withdraws; Catalina waves to 
him from the window. As soon as he has disappeared, 
her mother calls her.] 

Madame Pepita. Catalina! 

Catalina. Yes, mamma. 

Madame Pepita. Come here; I want to speak to you. 
[Catalina leaves the window, descends the steps, 
and goes up to her mother.] 

Catalina. What is it? 

Madame Pepita. Sit down. 

Catalina. What is the matter with you? You're all 
excited. 

Madame Pepita. No, my dear; I have been discussing 
art with your father. 

Catalina. I knew it was something awful. 

Madame Pepita. Sometimes, my dear, a woman does 
feel sentimental. 

Catalina. [Impressed.] Yes, mamma. 

Madame Pepita. And, my dear, it is my du-ty to warn 
you. We have invited to lunch — 

Catalina. The Conde and his son. 

Madame Pepita. But I didn't tell you that they're not 
coming merely for lunch. 

Catalina. Aren't they? What else do they want? 

Madame Pepita. They, or rather we. expect you and 



[ACT III] MADAME PEPITA 225 

Augusto to arrive at an understanding. We are anxious to 
have it settled. 

Catalina. Settled ? 

Madame Pepita. Yes, your engagement. 

Catalina. My engagement? 

Madame Pepita. Don't be silly. You know what I 
mean, though you're so coy about it. Augusto — I mean the 
Vizconde — is willing to marry you. It's an honor. 

Catalina. No ! 

Madame Pepita. Yes. He has consented. 

Catalina. Never! 

Madame Pepita. Never? 

Catalina. I don't love him. 

Madame Pepita. How do you know whether you love 
him or not, when you've never been in love? You will 
find out after you're married. 

Catalina. I shall never love him. 

Madame Pepita. I don't see why. He is young and 
handsome, and dresses well. 

Catalina. He frizzles his moustache with an iron. 

Madame Pepita. To make it curl. 

Catalina. A man's moustache oughtn't to curl unless 
it curls naturally. It must be geniune. Truth is more 
important than anything else in the world. 

Madame Pepita. You, too! 

Catalina, Yes, me too, mamma. 

Madame Pepita. [Rising nervously.] This a pretty 
state of affairs. [Seizing Catalina and shaking her, greatly 
incensed.] Catalina, this is shocking nonsense, the chatter 
of a silly little parrot! You are going to marry Augusto 
because it's the best thing you can do. Besides, he's a fine 
fellow, and he's crazy about you. You'll be a countess, 
then, which has been the dream of my life. I only wish 
I was in your place. He is good enough for you, anyway, 
considering who you are. 

Catalina. I'm my father's daughter — Don Guillermo's 
daughter, remember that. 



226 MADAME PEPITA [ACT III] 

Madame Pepita. Don't you come that on me. 

Catalina. But, mamma, he loves me and he is kind to 
me, and I love him. If j'ou insist on my marrying, I'll run 
and tell him, and he'll protect me, and you'll find out then 
whether or not I marry. 

Madame Pepita. You'll marry because I tell you to — 
and be very careful hovv^ you say I will and I won't to 
me. You silly girl, do you know what you are doing? 
Making faces at your happiness! I suppose you've got some 
snip of a prince tucked away up your sleeve? 

Catalina. No, I haven't got any prince there, and you 
needn't think you can work off any Vizcondes on me, either. 

Madame Pepita. Wait ! You forget you're unmarried. 
What good is an unmarried woman, anyhow? That's the 
reason she's unmarried. Your happiness is at stake, and some 
day you'll thank me for it. A mother's duty is to protect 
her children. 

Catalina. Yes, and so is father's! I'm going to tell 
father. 

Madame Pepita. Oh, let up on father! 

Catalina, Let up on father? 

Madame Pepita. Yes, your mother is talking now, and 
your mother comes before everybody else in the world. It 
would be nice, wouldn't it, if a man who has known you 
only two or three weeks . . . 

Catalina. I won't have you talk like that about father ! 
[Beginning to cry.] You don't love him! 

Madame Pepita. [Loftily.] Whether I love him or 
not, is none of your business. 

[Don Luis and Augusto appear at the left.] 

Don Luis. Do we intrude? 

Madame Pepita. [Composing herself.] Oh, no! 
Come in! Come right in! [To Catalina.] You stay 
here with me. 

Catalina. But father? 

Madame Pepita. To hell with father! Send word out 
you're engaged. 



[ACT III] MADAME PEPITA 227 

Don Luis. We anticipate, perhaps, but I am impatient 
to conclude that transaction. 

Madame Pepita. Ah, yes! About the mines? 
Don Luis. Yes. [Glancing significantly toward Au- 
GUSTO and Catalina.] About the mines. We might look 
over the plans in the house, where it will be more con- 
venient. 

Madame Pepita. No doubt something of the sort 
would be best. 

Don Luis. Meanwhile the young people may enjoy 
themselves in the garden — until luncheon^ 

Madame Pepita. Yes, it will not be ready for a long 
time. 

Catalina. [Pulling at her mother s skirts.] No, 
mamma. 

Madame Pepita. Don't be so damm Gothic! [To the 
CoNDE.] After you. 
Don Luis. Precede me. 

[They mount the steps and disappear into the house, 
closing the door behind them. AuGUSTO and Cata- 
lina remain alone. They look at each other, hut say 
nothing. After an interminable silence, AuGUSTO ven- 
tures a remark as gracefully as the state of his feelings 
will allow.] 
AuGUSTO. Would you care to take a little walk? 
Catalina. You don't call it walking, do you, in the 
garden ? 

AuGUSTO. I do. 

Catalina. I do not. 

AuGUSTO. You do not? 

Catalina. Walking is climbing mountains, and scram- 
bling over rocks, and crashing through the underbrush. \ 
adore walking. 

AuGUSTO. I do not. 

Catalina. Oh! Don't you like mountains? 

AuGUSTO. When I hunt. 

Catalina. Do you like to hunt? 



228 MADAME PEPITA [ACT III] 

AUGUSTO. I do. 

Catalina. I do not. 

AuGUSTO. You do not? 

Catalina. It's silly for a grown man to spend all day 
killing poor little animals, who have never done him any 
harm. It would do you a great deal more good to stay 
home and read a book. 

AuGUSTO. Do you like to read books? 

Catalina. Very much. Do you? 

AuGUSTO. I do not. 

Catalina. [Aggressively.l Well, what do you like? 

AuGUSTO. I like horses and dogs. 

Catalina. Oh, I thinks dogs are disgusting! They 
jump all over you, and upset things, and eat everything 
there is in the house. Besides, they have fleas. I would 
rather have a canary; it's pretty and it sings. 

AuGUSTO. You don't call that singing — shrilling be- 
cause it is shut up in a cage? I hate anything that's in a 
cage. Canaries are in the same class with yellow novels 
and romantic girls. 

Catalina. [Deliffhted.] Don't you like romantic 
girls? 

AuGUSTO. I don't like any kind of girls. 

Catalina. [Enchanted.] You do not? 

AuGUSTO. I like women who have spirit and nerve, 
blood and fire, who know something, and are not ashamed 
to show it. They may laugh at a man, and have no use 
for him twenty-three hours out of the twenty-four, but in 
the one hour that they do, they make him live, or they take 
his life away. I forgot I was talking to you. . . . 

Catalina. Oh, don't stop on my account. I suppose 
you mean something superior? Well, I am afraid I'm 
dreadfully romantic, and I haven't got much fire in my 
blood — not a bit of it, in fact, although sometimes I do 
get hot when I think . . . 

AuGUSTO. Of a man? Is it some man you already 



[ACT III] MADAME PEPITA 229 

know, or one you would like to know? Tell me, what 
8ort of man would you like for your husband? 

Catalina. Now, don't be offended. I would like a 
real man, not as elegant as you are, but one who seems like 
a man, and who knows something — about art, for instance, 
and is willing to travel — to Rome, if necessary, and be- 
come famous. He might be a painter. I don't care 
whether he is noble or not; he might belong to the people 
— no, not to the people, either, but his mother might be 
a school teacher — 

AuGUSTO. [Seizinff both her hands.] Really? You 
are an angel! 

Catalina. What ? 

AuGUSTO. [Transported.] An archangel, an extraor- 
dinary woman! 

Catalina. [More and more alarmed.] Oh! It is 
true, then. You do want to marry me? 

AuGUSTO. No, positively I do not. 

Catalina. Then why do you say all these things? 

AuGUSTO. That's it exactly — ^because I don't want to 
marry you, because you don't love me, because you love 
somebody else. 

Catalina. I do not. 

AuGUSTO. Yes, you do, though you may not know it. 
I have no idea who he is — apparently a painter or some- 
thing of that sort, thank God! Now don't be offended; 
I don't love you either, although I think better of you 
than I did, and I am grateful beyond measure. Thank 
you again, oh, thank you! Thank you! [Kissing her 
hands.] 

Catalina. [Allowing him to kiss her hands, so com- 
pletely indifferent that she attaches no importance to it.] 
It certainly is a great relief to us both. But wait till 
mamma hears! 

AuGUSTO. [Distressed.] And papa! 

Catalina. [Tapping the ground with one foot.] She 
says I ought to take you because you are a vizconde. 



230 MADAME PEPITA [ACT III] 

AuGUSTO. Yes, and then, you know you are rich. But 
I'd rather throw in my title for nothing. 

Catalina. And you could have all my money. How- 
ever, that is impossible. 

AuGUSTO. I fear so. What shall we do? 

Catalina. Think of something; you're a man. 

AuGUSTO. I ? I can't think. 

Catalina. [Having an inspiration.] No, we had 
better ask father. He's not awfully enthusiastic about it, 
either. Come and find him — or, perhaps, I had better go 
alone; you can slip out by the orchard gate. Mother and 
Don Luis will believe, then, that we are still together. How 
do you like that? 

AuGUSTO. Perfect! Hurry and separate and fool them 
both. 

Catalina. Hurry, while I get my hat. [Augusto 
runs out behind the house. As Catalina reaches the steps, 
she notices her mother's parasol, which leans against a chair, 
where it has been forgotten.] This parasol will do. 
What's the difference? [An automobile horn is heard.] 
An automobile! [Distressed.] Who can it be? [Hesi- 
tating.] Oh, well! Never mind. [As she is disappear- 
ing, Galatea enters.] Oh, Madame Galatea! [Going up 
to her pleasantly.] How do you do? 

Galatea. [Frigidly.] How do you do? 

Catalina. [After looking at her.] Something is the 
matter — Mother is inside. Won't you step in? 

Galatea. Thanks. I've business with you, first. 

Catalina. With me? Won't you sit down? 

Galatea. [Walking nervously to and fro, looking 
about in all directions.] I'm easier as I am. 

Catalina. [Curiously.] Perhaps you have lost 
something? 

Galatea. [Brusquely.] Yes, and you have picked it 
up. 

Catalina. I ? 



[ACT III] MADAME PEPITA 231 

Galatea. My dear, think it over, or all these sweet 
dreams of yours may turn out to be nightmares. 

Catalina. [Amazed.} Nightmares? 

Galatea. Depend upon it, as long as I'm alive, that 
man is never going to marry anybody but me. 

Catauna. [Astonished and shocked.} What man? 

Galatea. So you want me to stage this little scene, 
do you? 

Catalina. I? What scene? Unless you make it a 
good deal plainer, I shan't understand one word you say. 

Galatea. You want me to make it plainer, eh? 

Catalina. Yes, make it plainer. 

Galatea. Well, is this plain enough? You think 
you're going to be a damn countess. 

Catalina. Why, I never heard of such a thing! 

Galatea. What are you doing with Augusto, any- 
way? 

Catalina. Oh! So it's Augusto, is it? Is that what 
you're so mad about? Do you want to marry him? 

Galatea. That's my business. 

Catalina. I think so, too. Well, if you love him, and 
he loves you, go ahead and marry him. Count me out 
of it. 

Galatea. Don't you love him? 

Catalina. No, and I never did. I can't stand a man 
who parts his hair with a ruler. 

Galatea. [Offended.} Parts it with a ruler? 

Catalina. Yes, that's what he does. And he wears 
corsets and rouges — although you do yourself, so you've 
nothing on him there, as far as that goes. 

Galatea. [Uncertain whether to be pleased or not.] 
But there must be some mistake. I thought — I heard that 
you . . . 

Catalina. Perhaps. I heard it myself, but you can't 
always believe what you hear. 

Galatea. No, but when you're fond of a man . . . 



232 MADAME PEPITA [ACT III] 

Catalina. Are you fond of him, honestly? 

Galatea. I'm fond of him all right. 

Catalina. It is hard for me to believe it. 

Galatea. However, I understand your position. A 
woman cannot get along without love. She may suffer, 
she may wish she was dead, and Worry until she has not 
one hair left on the top of her head, but, after all, when 
you come down to it, love is love. There's nothing else 
like it. 

Catalina. [Absorbed.} I feel as if you might be a 
great help to me. Have you been engaged very long? 

Galatea. [Depressed.] I've never been engaged. 

Catalina. Never engaged? 

Galatea. And it's too late now. I was starving, and 
needed the money. 

Catalina. Do you really mean you were hungry? 

Galatea. [Smiling at her innocence.] Oh, that was 
a long time ago. But I could starve all my life for that 
man. You're a lucky girl! Some day you will have a 
sweetheart yourself, and be engaged. You'll understand, 
then, what love means. 

Catalina. [Earnestly.] I hope I will. 

Galatea. [Preparing to leave.] We all go through 
it. However, there is no need for you to worry. 

Catalina. Are you in a hurry? Won't you wait for 
Augusto ? 

Galatea. No, I guess he's safe with you. But re- 
member! . . . [Goes out.] 

Catalina. Don't forget, yourself. [Puzzled, watching 
Galatea as she disappears.] She's in love. Just imagine 
it! Ah, before you can be in love, you have to find some- 
body who is willing! 

[Alberto enters. He is dressed as an artist, by 
which it is to be understood that he wears a flowing tie 
and broad-brimmed hat.] 

Alberto. Good morning. [Advancing.] 

Catalina. [Startled and happy.] Oh! 



[ACT III] MADAME PEPITA 233 

Alberto. Don't be afraid. [Disconcerted himself."] 

Catalina. But ... I didn't know you were there. 

Alberto. [Dreadfully embarrassed, but making an 
effort to maintain his dignity.] Yes . . . that is ... I 
was in the street, looking for you. 

Catalina. For me? 

Alberto. [A pologetically .] No, not for you — for Don 
Guillermo. I wish to thank him. Don't you know? 

Catalina. Ah, yes! Of course! 

Alberto. The gate was open, so . . . But I fright- 
ened you? 

Catalina. [Hesitating.] Then you did win the prize? 

Alberto. Yes, thanks to Senor de Armendariz. 

Catalina. That wasn't the only reason. The picture 
had to be good, too. 

Alberto. It wasn't bad, although they said the subject 
was a little worn out. 

Catalina. Jacob wrestling with the angel. 

Alberto. Yes, I should never have won the prize on 
that. The other pictures were good, too — there were two 
or three good ones; but Don Guillermo preferred mine, 
because . . . 

Catalina. Because why? 

Alberto. Because . . . because he thought the angel 
looked like you. 

Catalina. [Overcome.] The angel? 

Alberto. [Apologizing.] Yes, but you mustn't think 
that I did it on purpose. 

Catalina. [Disappointed.] Oh, didn't you? 

Alberto. No, I just had you in mind. I seemed to 
see you, that was all. Your head is so characteristic — and 
your curls, and your wonderful eyes! After I had seen 
you, and we had talked a little — it came to me as a revela- 
tion, just like that. 

Catalina. [After a pause.] I suppose you are aw- 
fully anxious to go to Rome, aren't you? 

Alberto. Awfully. 



234 MADAME PEPITA [ACT HI] 

Catalina. [After another pause.'] You must be 
very happy. 

Alberto. Yes; that is, I should be, very — because I 
have done what I set out to do. It is my career. Italy 
is my dream! 

Catalina. \_Sadly.'] I know. 

Alberto. But, then, I am sorry to go. Honestly, I 
should rather not. [Manifestly embarrassed.] 

Catalina. Why not? 

Alberto. [Repenting his indiscretion, before it is too 
late.] Because . . . because I am awfully fond of 
Madrid. 

Catalina. Oh! Are you? 

Alberto. However . . . 

Catalina. [Hopefully.] However? 

Alberto. However, I am fond of it, and so are you, 
although you don't live in Madrid any more. 

Catalina. No, I live in the country. 

Alberto. Yes, in the country! 

Catalina. Are you fond of the country? 

Alberto. I am fonder of it than I am of Madrid. 

Catalina. Are you? Why? 

Alberto. Because . . . [Catching himself.] There are 
so many trees in the country. 

Catalina. Are you fond of trees? , 

Alberto. Very — if you are. 

Catalina. [Touched.] Oh, yes indeed! [Restrain- 
ing herself.] If you are. 

Alberto. I am fond of everything that you are, be- 
cause . . . because you have such excellent taste. 

Catalina. I? What makes you think so? 

Alberto. Because . . . [Throwing restraint to the 
winds.] Because you have such beautiful eyes! 

Catalina. [Overwhelmed.] Have I? 

Alberto. [Embarrassed.] No, excuse me. Yes, you 
have. They are blue. 

Catalina. Do you like blue eyes? 



[ACT III] MADAME PEPITA 235 

Alberto. Immensely. 

Catalina. [Coquettishly-I But my eyes are not 
blue. That is, they are not entirely blue. 

Alberto. No, not entirely. 

Catalina. Can you see any green in them? 

Alberto. Yes, green — decidedly; but it makes no dif- 
ference to me. 

Catalina. Of course it makes no difEerence to you. 

Alberto. [Fervently.] Absolutely not. 

Catalina. What do you care what color my eyes are, 
anyway ? 

Alberto. That is quite different. 

Catalina. Is it? 

Alberto. Yes. [Hopelessly embarrassed.] If you 
were nothing to me, of course I shouldn't care. Pardon 
my saying so, but you can never be nothing to me. You 
could not be indifferent. 

Catalina. Oh! Couldn't I? 

Alberto. [Impetuously.] Never! I must f^ll you — 
I know it's not right, but I am very unhappy. You are 
rich and I am poor — only a poor artist. All 1 have is 
my future — a hope of glory, merely a hope, that is all. 
It is little enough to offer a woman in exchange for happi- 
ness. 

Catalina. [Wishing to appear oracular.] It may 
seem little enough to you, but it's an awful lot right now 
to me. 

Alberto. No ! 

Catalina. Because I have money, you think I must 
be hard to please, and want the earth, besides. Men always 
think they know so much, they imagine that they are the 
only ones who have ideals, or can dream about the future, 
and things that can never be. Well, let me tell you, 
women do it, too. Though they may be ignorant, they 
are just as anxious to go to Rome as men are. [She be- 
gins to cry.] 

Alberto. [Deeply moved.] Catalina! 



236 MADAME PEPITA [ACT III] 

Catalina. [Without raising her eyes.] Here am I. 

Alberto. [Drawing nearer.] Catalina! 

Catalina. [Discovering Don Guillermo, who enters.] 
Papa! 

Don Guillermo. [Without noticing Alberto.] 
Hello! Are you here? I was waiting for you. 

Catalina. [With a tremendous effort.] Alberto is 
here, papa. 

Don Guillermo. Alberto? 

Alberto. [Advancing.] Alberto Jimenez y Vergara, 
sir, at your service. 

Don Guillermo. [Slightly surprised.] Ah, yes! I 
am delighted . . . 

Alberto. I have come to thank you for . . . for . . . 

Catalina. [Interrupting.] For his prize. [Don 
Guillermo makes a deprecatory gesture, indicating that it 
is not to be mentioned.] And while we are about it, I 
thought I would tell you that he has asked me to go to Rome 
with him. 

Don Guillermo. To Rome? With him? Impos- 
sible ! 

Catalina. [Blushing.] We can get married before 
we go. 

Don Guillermo. Outrageous!! [To Alberto, an- 
grily.] I demand an explanation, sir. 

Catalina. It was all my fault. 

Don Guillermo. Your fault? 

Catalina. Yes, he was poor, so he was afraid to ask 
me, because I am rich, so I had to ask him. It's the 
same thing, anyway. I love him, and he loves me. 

Don Guillermo. This is too preposterous. 

Catalina. And if you won't let us marry, I am go- 
ing to die, or shut myself up in a convent. 

[While Don Guillermo and Catalina are speak- 
ing, Don Luis and Madame Pepita enter from the 
house. Madame Pepita listens in amazement, and 
turns, unable to restrain her indignation.] 



[ACT III] MADAME PEPITA 237 

Madame Pepita. [To Catalina, seizing her by the 
arm.} What is all this nonsense? 

Don Guillermo. [Calmly.] They are in love and 
want to get married. 

Catalina and Alberto. [In unison.] Yes, we want 
to get married. 

Madame Pepita. But Augusto? 

Don Luis. Yes, what about Augusto? 

Catalina, [Heroically.] He doesn't love me and he 
is out of it. He is in love with another woman, 

Madame Pepita. You don't know what you are talk- 
ing about. 

Catalina. He is in love with Galatea. She's just 
been here, and she swears Augusto will never marry any one 
else as long as she is alive. 

Madame Pepita. Galatea? That shameless hussy? 

Don Luis. Leave her to me. I shall attend to her case. 

Don Guillermo. [Interrupting.] No, it has been at- 
tended to already. 

Don Luis. We shall see. 

Don Guillermo. As long as your activities in this 
house were confined to checking up lime and bricks, I 
remained silent; I hesitated to arouse my wife. Now, 
however . . . 

Don Luis. Do you dare to insinuate . . . ? 

Don Guillermo, [Paying no attention to the inter- 
ruption.] As I am infinitely more interested in Catalina's 
happiness than in her mother's bricks, I shall not tolerate 
any further interference from you, 

Don Luis, Then you imply, sir . . . ? 

Don Guillermo. That the time has arrived for you 
to go. Remove yourself! We are not in the habit of 
discussing family affairs in the presence of strangers. [Turn- 
ing his back. Madame Pepita is struck dumb.] 

Don Luis. Very well! I shall retire. What shock- 
ing bad taste! Pepita, you will regret this. You will 
think of me when I am gone and you are pining away, alone 



238 MADAME PEPITA [ACT III] 

with this man. Remember! You have my sympathy. 
[Goes out.l 

Madame Pepita. [To Catalina.] Because Augusto 
may have made a few slips, is that any reason why I 
should permit you to — 

Catalina. [Interruptinff.l Certainly, mamma. 

Madame Pepita. [Looking scornfully in Alberto's 
direction.] With that man? 

Catalina. Certainly, mamma. 

Madame Pepita. My daughter, the daughter of a 
Russian duke, marry a clerk, who is a retailer? 

Catalina. He's an artist. 

Don Guillermo. In a few years, he will be famous — 
I guarantee it. He will paint pictures, win medals, and 
in the course of time be elected to the Academy — [Sadly.] 
perhaps in my place. Some families seem predestined to 
glory. You will have a great man for your husband, as 
your mother has had before you. 

Madame Pepita. [Siffhinp.] All the same, a title 
would have done no harm, if we could have had it thrown 
in. I don't want anybody to say I am an unnatural 
mother. 

Catalina. [Embracing her.] Nobody ever accused you 
of that, mamma. 

Alberto. We are much obliged to you for what you 
have done. 

Madame Pepita. [Deeply affected.] Children are a 
constant source of anxiety. 

Alberto. But I must not miss my train. I am nerv- 
ous. If there is nothing I can do . . . Madame Pepita, 
Don Guillermo ... I can never thank you sufficiently. 

Don Guillermo. My wife deserves no thanks. 

Madame Pepita. God help us both! 

Alberto. Adios, Catalina. 

Catalina. Adios. 

[They look at each other, too embarrassed to move.] 

Alberto. I must be going , . . 



[ACT III] MADAME PEPITA 239 

Catalina. Yes, you really must. 

Alberto. If I am to return — the very first thing in the 
morning. 

Catalina. Be sure you don't forget! 
[Don Guillermo smiles.] 

Alberto. [Confused.] I am going. I am going 
now . . . Adiosf 

[Disappears. Catalina gazes after him, without 
daring to follow.] 

Don Guillermo. Run along and see him off, if you 
want to. Everybody is willing. 
[Catalina runs out.] 

Madame Pepita. Well, she seems happy, I must say. 
This has been a great day. She is going to leave us. 

Don Guillermo. [Pacing up and down, as he re- 
peats his wife's words.] Yes, she is going to leave us. 
[Suddenly realizing their significance.] Going to leave us? 
True! She is going to leave us! 

Madame Pepita. The poor dear! 

Don Guillermo. [Startled, staring at his wife as if 
discovering her for the first time.] And I am left alone 
with this woman! 

Madame Pepita. [Coyly.] Guillermo . . . 

Don Guillermo. What luck! [Fiercely.] Catalina 
is going to marry — naturally, she will live with her hus- 
band. Then what will become of me? I have nothing to 
detain me here. There is no time to lose! I have an in- 
vitation to visit Egypt to conduct excavations. 

Madame Pepita. Not in Egypt? 

Don Guillermo. Yes, of long standing. 

Madame Pepita. But you can not go alone? [Don 
Guillermo nods.] What is to become of me? 

Don Guillermo. [Uneasily.] You? [She assents.] 
You can stay behind — the trip would be too fatiguing. 
Besides, you could never make up your mind to leave all 
these objects of art. 

Madame Pepita. [On the verge of tears.] True, I 



240 MADAME PEPITA [ACT III] 

forgot. Aren't they lovely? I know you only want to 
get rid of me. 

Don Guillermo. Nonsense! How could I? 

Madame Pepita. It mortifies me to think that my hus- 
band — 

Don Guillermo. Although, strictly speaking — 

Madame Pepita. But you grow fond of a dog when 
you live with him. After my experience with that man, it 
never occurred to me that I could love another. But my 
heart is tender, and I couldn't help seeing what you were. 
You happened along, and after all, you are my husband, 
though I am not the one to say it, and I am your wife, and 
. . . and I love you! 

Don Guillermo. Pepita, do not prevaricate. 

Madame Pepita. No, I love you! I wish to God 
that I didn't, but it's too late now, and I love you. [Burst- 
ing into tears, she sinks into a chair.] And there you 
are! 

Don Guillermo. [Dumbfounded.] Pepita! But, 
Pepita! Come, come, I had no idea . . . [Going up to 
her.] Don't cry now. You unman me. 

Madame Pepita. [Sobbing.] I am nobody, and you 
are a philosopher, and you belong to a different class, but 
I love you! I don't care whether you love me, only it 
isn't my fault. Don't go away, because I can't bear it. 
I have lived alone all my life, without anybody to take care 
of me — my first husband ran away, but I had my daughter, 
and I shared her with you because you said you needed 
her. But now she is leaving me, and if you leave me, 
too, you take the heart out of my life! 

Don Guillermo. Pepita! 

Madame Pepita. There is nothing left. 

Don Guillermo. Please forgive me. A man may be 
an egotist, but not to that extent. I was not thinking of you. 
You are alone in the world, you have been deserted ; but so 



[ACT III] MADAME PEPITA 241 

have I. I do not ask you to love me; it is more than I 
could wish . . . 

Madame Pepita. But you deserve it. 
Don Guillermo, I know. You have no idea what it 
means to a man to have a wife at his side. Old age 
is coming on, when it is sad to be alone. No, I cannot 
refuse the ofifer of a generous woman's hand. 

Madame Pepita. [Sitting upJ] Guillermo, this is so 
sudden! 

Don Guillermo. [Stifling a sobJ] We might spend 
our honeymoon in Egypt and conduct explorations by the 
way. 

Madame Pepita. Guillermo! [And they fall into 
each others arms.] 

[Catalina enters, flushed and confused with the 
remorse of the first kiss. Her eyes open wide as she 
discovers her mother with Don Guillermo. After 
hesitating a moment, she smiles discreetly, smoothing her 
disordered hair.] 
Catalina. Papa and mamma! [Tiptoeing out.] 
Something new. 

Curtain 



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